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.    FRANK  WILD,  C.B.E, 


^resenteb  to 
o{  the 

Pntoerstt^  of  ®oro«to 

The  Estate 
The  Late  John  Brundle 


— —   -5^^-, 






Photo:  Wilkins. 



The  Story  of  the  Quest.       By 

Commander  FRANK  WILD,G.B.E. 

From     the    OflScial    Journal    and     Private 
Diary  kept  by  Dr.   A.    H.    MACK  LIN 

With  Frontispiece  in  Colour,  numerous  Maps 
and    over  lOO  Illustrations  from  Photographs 


London,  New  York,  Toronto  and  Melbourne 



if  J  I 


?"irst  Published  Afay  1923. 
Second  Edition  June  1923. 
Reprinted  November  11^23 


Printed  in  Great  Britain 


"Yonder  the  far  horizon  lies, 
And  there  by  night  and  day 
The  old  ships  draw  to  port  again. 
The  young  ships  sail  away. 
And  go  I  must  and  come  I  may, 
And  if  men  ask  you  why, 

You  may  lay  the  blame  on  the  stars  and  the  sun 
And  the  white  road  and  the  sky." 

Gerald  Gould 


SIR  ERNEST  SHACKLETON  died  suddenly;  so 
suddenly  that  he  said  no  word  at  all  with  regard  to 
the  future  of  the  expedition.  But  I  know  that  had  he 
foreseen  his  death  and  been  able  to  communicate  to  me 
his  wishes,  they  would  have  been  summed  up  in  the  two 
words,  "  Carry  on  !  " 

Perhaps  the  most  difficult  part  of  my  task  has  been 
the  recording  of  the  work  of  the  expedition.  It  has  been 
to  me  a  very  sad  duty,  and  one  which  I  would  gladly 
have  avoided  had  it  been  possible.  The  demand,  how- 
ever, for  the  complete  story  of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton's 
last  expedition  has  been  so  widespread  and  insistent  that 
I  could  no  longer  withhold  it. 

In  the  subsequent  pages  of  this  book  the  reader  will 
find  recorded  the  story  of  the  voyage  of  the  Quest,  the 
tight  little  ship  that  carried  us  through  over  twenty  thou- 
sand miles  of  stormy  ocean  and  brought  us  safely  back. 

I  make  no  claim  to  literary  style,  but  have 
endeavoured  to  set  forth  a  plain  and  simple  narrative. 

The  writings  of  explorers  vary,  but  in  my  opinion 
they  have  all  one  common  fault,  which  is,  that  they  have 
attempted  to  combine  in  one  volume  the  scientific  results 
with  the  more  popular  story  of  the  expedition. 

This   book  is   for  the   public.     I   have  sought  to 



eliminate  the  mass  of  scientific  details  with  which  my 
journal  is  filled,  to  avoid  technical  terms,  and  to  retain 
only  that  which  can  be  easily  understood  by  all. 

Of  the  parts  of  the  narrative  that  deal  with  Sir 
Ernest  Shackleton  I  have  passed  over  very  shortly. 
Pens  far  more  able  than  mine,  notably  those  of  Mr. 
Harold  Begbie  and  Dr.  Hugh  Robert  Mill,  have  written 
of  his  life  and  character. 

Though  I  was  his  companion  on  every  one  of  his 
expeditions,  I  know  little  of  his  life  at  home.  It  is  a 
curious  thing  that  men  thrown  so  closely  together  as 
those  engaged  in  Polar  work  should  never  seek  to  know 
anything  of  each  other's  "  inside  "  affairs.  But  to  the 
"  Explorer  "  Shackleton  I  was  joined  by  ties  so  strongly 
welded  through  the  many  years  of  common  hardship  and 
struggle  that  to  write  of  him  at  all  is  extremely  difficult. 
Nothing  I  could  set  down  can  convey  what  I  feel,  and 
I  have  a  horror  of  false  and  wordy  sentiment.  I  trust, 
therefore,  that  those  readers  who  may  think  that  I  have 
dealt  too  lightly  with  the  parts  of  the  story  which  more 
intimately  concern  him  will  sympathize  and  respect  my 
feelings  in  the  matter. 

I  must  take  this  opportunity  of  acknowledging  my 
deep  feeling  of  gratitude  to  Mr.  John  Quiller  Rowett. 
What  the  expedition  owes  to  him  no  one,  not  even  its 
individual  members,  can  ever  realize.  There  have  been 
many  supporters  of  enterprises  of  this  nature,  but  usually 
they  have  sought  from  it  some  commercial  gain.  Mr. 
Rowett's  support  was  due  solely  to  his  keen  interest  in 
scientific  research,  which  he  had  previously  instituted 



and  encouraged  in  other  fields.  He  bore  practically  the 
whole  financial  burden,  and  this  expedition  is  almost 
unique  in  that  it  was  clear  of  debt  at  the  time  of  its 

But,  in  addition  to  this,  I  owe  him  much  for  his 
kindly  encouragement,  his  clear,  sound  judgment,  and 
his  unfailing  assistance  whenever  I  have  sought  it.  Mrs. 
Rowett  has  given  me  invaluable  assistance  throughout 
the  preparation  of  the  book  and  has  corrected  the  proofs. 
For  her  kindly  hospitality  I  owe  more  than  I  can  say, 
for  to  myself  and  others  of  the  expedition  her  house  has 
ever  been  open,  and  we  have  received  always  the  most 
kindly  welcome.  In  this  connexion  I  could  say  a  great 
deal,  but  it  would  be  inadequate  to  convey  what  I  feel. 

The  expedition  owes  also  a  debt  of  gratitude  to  Sir 
Frederick  Becker,  for  his  encouraging  assistance  was 
rendered  early  in  its  inception. 

To  the  many  public-spirited  firms  who  came  forward 
with  offers  of  assistance  to  what  was  considered  a 
national  enterprise  I  must  make  my  acknowledgments. 
It  is  regrettable  that  many  of  the  smaller  suppliers  of 
the  expedition  seized  the  chance  of  a  cheap  advertise- 
ment at  the  time  of  our  departure,  but  a  number  of  the 
more  reputable  firms  made  no  stipulation  of  any  sort, 
but  presented  us  with  goods  as  a  free  gift.  I  can  assure 
them  that  I  do  not  lightly  regard  their  share  in  helping 
on  the  work,  for  we  were  thus  enabled  to  carry  in  our 
food  stores  only  the  best  of  products.  Sir  Ernest 
Shackleton  rigidly  eliminating  all  goods  which  he  felt 
unable  to  trust. 



To  Mr.  James  A.  Cook  I  owe  much  for  the  hard 
work  he  has  done  at  all  times  and  for  the  help  which  he 
rendered  whilst  the  expedition  was  away  from  England. 

To  my  many  other  friends  who  have  at  one  time  and 
another  been  of  assistance  I  tender  my  grateful  acknow- 
ledgments, knowing  full  well  that  they  will  realize  how 
impossible  it  is  for  me  to  thank  them  all  by  name. 

I  must  thank  Dr.  Macklin  for  the  care  he  took  in 
keeping  the  official  diary  of  the  expedition.  This  and 
his  own  private  journal,  from  which  I  have  freely  quoted, 
have  both  been  invaluable  to  me. 

To  "  The  Boys,"  those  who  stood  by  me  and  gave 
me  their  loyal  service  throughout  an  arduous  and  trying 
period,  I  say  nothing — for  they  know  how  I  feel. 

Frank  Wild. 



I.  Inception 

2.  London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro 

3.  Rio  to  South  Georgia 

4.  Death  of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton 

5.  Preparations  in  South  Georgia 

6.  Into  the  South 

7.  The  Ice      . 

8.  Elephant  Island 

9.  South  Georgia  (Second  Visit) 

10.  The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group 

11.  Tristan  da  Cunha      .        .     By  Dr.  Macklin 

12.  Tristan  da  Cunha  (continued)  ,,  ,, 

13.  Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island 

14.  Cape  Town 

15.  St.  Helena — ^Ascension  Island— St.  Vincent 

16.  Home 


I. — Geological  Observations 

II. — Natural  History    . 

III. — Meteorology 

IV. — Hydrographic  Work 

V. — Medical 

List  of  Personnel  . 

Index    .... 













The  Cairn  Colour  Frontispiece 

Plate  facing  page 

1.  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  in  Polar  Clothing          ...  4 

2.  Mr.  John  Quiller  Rowett       ......  5 

3.  A  Diagrammatic  View  of  the  Quest         .         .         .         .6 

4.  Sectional  Views  of  the  Quest 7 

5.  The  Sperry  Gyroscopic  Compass 10 

6.  The  Enclosed  Bridge  of  the  Quest 11 

7.  The  Quest  at  Hay's  Wharf 12 

8.  Kerr  (Chief   Engineer)  Examining  the   Lucas  Deep-sea 

Sounding  Machine    .......  13 

9.  The  Wireless  Operating  Room — The  Ward  Room  of  the 

Quest      .........  20 

10.  The  Quest  Passing  the  Tower  of  London  on  her  way  to  the 

Sea — The  Schermuly  Portable  Rocket  Apparatus         .  21 

11.  The  Quest  in  the  North-east  Trades        ....  28 

12.  The  Tow  Net  in  Use 29 

13.  A  Porpoise  which  was  Harpooned  from  the  Bowsprit      .  32 

14.  Query — The  Boss  Gives  Query  a  Bath  ....  33 

15.  Landing  the  Shore  Party  at  St.  Paul's  Rocks           .         .  48 

16.  The  White-capped  Noddy  {Anous  stolidus)  on  St.  Paul's 

Rocks — The  Booby  (Sula  leucogastra)         ...  49 

17.  Commander  Worsley  Superintending  Work  in  the  Rigging 

at  Rio  de  Janeiro     .......  50 

18.  The  Quest  in  Gritviken  Harbour    .         .         .         .         -Si 

19.  The  Whaling  Station  at  Gritviken          ....  62 

20.  Sunset  on  the  Slopes  of  South  Georgia  ....  63 

21.  The  Resting  Place  of  a  Great  Explorer  ....  64 

22.  The  Picturesque  Setting  of  Prince  Olaf  Station        .         .  65 

23.  Prince  Olaf  WhaHng  Station          .         .         .         .         .  68 

24.  A    Steam    WTialer    with    Two   Whales  brought  in  for 

Flensing — Huge  Blue  Whales  at  South  Georgia          .  69 

25.  The  "  Plan  "  at  Gritviken,  with  a  Whale  in  Process  of 

Being  Flensed          .         .         .         ....  76 


List  of  Illustrations 

Plate  facing  page 

26.  Leith  Harbour,  South  Georgia 77 

27.  Chart    of    Larsen    Harbour — The   Entrance    to    Larsen 

Harbour 80 

28.  An  Expedition  in  Search  of  Fresh  Food — Marr,  Mcllroy, 

Commander  Wild,  MackUn        .         .         .         .         .81 

29.  Commander  Wild         .......       82 

30.  A  Small  Berg — A  Curious  "  Toothed  "  Berg  ...       83 

31.  A  Lovely  Evening  in  the  Sub- Ant  arctic  ...       86 

32.  Too  Many  Cooks — Our  First  Deep-sea    Sounding         .       87 

33.  The    Western    End    of    Zavodovski     Island,    showing 

Grounded  Icebergs  .......  90 

34.  Sentinel  of  the  Antarctic       ......  91 

35.  A  Typical  Scene  at  the  Pack  Edge         ....  94 

36.  Killers  Rising  to  "  Blow  " — The  Quest  Pushing  Through 

Thin  Ice  ........       95 

37.  Loose  Open  Pack— Loose  Pack  Ice,  with  the  Sea  Rapidly 

Freezing  Over  .  .  .  .  .  .  .96 

38.  The  Midnight  Sun 97 

39.  The  Loneliness  of  the  Pack 100 

40.  An  Unpleasant  but  Necessary  Duty — Taking  Crab-eater 

Seals  for  Food  .......     loi 

41.  Commander  Wild  at  the  Masthead         ....     108 

42.  Pushing  South  Through  Heavy  Pack — The  Quest  Plough- 

ing Through  Heavy  Ice  Pack 109 

43.  The  Quest  at  her  Farthest  South— Jeffrey   and  Douglas 

taking  Observations  for  Magnetic  Dip       .         .         .112 

44.  Heavy  Pressed-up  Pack  Ice,  the  Quest  in  the  Distance — 

Commander  Wild   and  Worsley  Examining   a  Newly 
Formed  "  Lead  "  in  the  Pack  Ice       .         .         .         .113 

45.  The  Quest  Pushing  North  Through  Rapidly  Freezing  Ice     114 

46.  "  Watering  "  Ship  with  Floe  Ice 115 

47.  Emperor  Penguins  on  the  Floe  :    A  Still  Evening  in  the 

Pack 118 

48.  Frozen  Spray      .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .119 

49.  Commander  Wild's  Watch  :  Mcllroy,  Carr,  Wild,  Macklin — 

The  "  Black  "  Watch  :  Ross,  Argles,  Young,  Kerr,  Smith     122 

50.  Worsley's  Watch:  Douglas,  Wilkins,   Watts,   Worsley— 

Jeffrey's  Watch  :  McLeod,  Marr,  Jeffrey,  Dell     .  .123 

51.  Chipping  Frozen  Spray  from  the  Gunwales     .  .  .126 

52.  The  Quest  Beset  near  Ross's  Appearance  of  Land  .     127 

53.  Rowett  Island,  off  Cape  Lookout,  Elephant  Island  .     150 


List  of  Illustrations 

Plate  facing  page 

54.  The    Kent    "  Clear- View  "    Screen — Approaching   Cape 

Lookout 151 

55.  Loading  Sea-elephants'  Blubber,  Elephant  Island  .         .     154 

56.  Somnolent  Content :  a  Sea-elephant  on  Elephant  Island — 

Ringed  Penguins  and  a  Paddy  Bird  (Chionis  alba)  .     155 

57.  Shackleton's  Last  Anchorage — McLeod  and  Marr  clearing 

up  After  a  Blizzard 160 

58.  Sugar  Top  Mountain,  Part  of  the  AUardyce  Range,  South 

Georgia  .........  161 

59.  A  Glacier  Face  in  South  Georgia   ....         .  176 

60.  A  Rocky  Outcrop  in  South  Georgia        ....  177 

61.  Distended  Whale  Carcasses  in  Prince  Olaf  Harbour  .  178 

62.  Cape  Pigeons  {Daption  capensis)  at  South  Georgia  .  179 

63.  The  Northern  Coast  of  Drygalski  Fiord — Cape  Saunders  182 

64.  The  New  Type  of  Whaler— The  Black-browed  Albatross 

or  MoUymauk   ........     183 

65.  A  Pair  of  Adult  Wandering  Albatross — A  Young  Albatross     186 

66.  Gentoo   Penguin  Feeding  its  Chick  —  The   Chick   after 

Feeding 187 

67.  On  the  Way  to  the  Cairn — Looking  Shorewards  from  the 

Cairn 190 

68.  Our  Farewell  to  the  Boss 191 

69.  The  Settlement  at  Tristan  da  Cunha  from  the  Sea — View 

of  the  Settlement  from  the  East        ....     208 

70.  Landing  at  Big   Beach,  Tristan  da  Cunha — A  Tristan 

Bullock  Cart 209 

71.  Nightingale  Island — Inaccessible  Island  .         .         .     224 

72.  Wireless  Pole  being  erected,  Tristan — Carr  and  Douglas 

with  Two  Tristan  Guides,  Henry  Green  and  Glass       .     225 

73.  John  Glass  and  Family — ^The  Mission  House  on  Tristan 

da  Cunha        .         .         ...         .         .         .         .     240 

74.  The  "  Potato  Patches  "  on  Tristan  da  Cunha  .         .     241 

75.  Tristan  Women  Twisting  Wool — ^The  Tristan  Method  of 

Carding  Wool 256 

76.  Henry  Green's  Cottage,  Tristan  da  Cunha — ^The  Oldest 

Inhabitant  of  Tristan  da  Cunha,  Miss  Betty  Cotton     .     257 

77.  View  of  Gough  Island  from  the  Glen  Anchorage      .         .     262 

78.  The  Apostle,  an  Acid  Intrusive  near  the  Summit  of  Gough 

Island — ^The  Little  Glen  where  the  New  Sophora  was 
Discovered  .......     263 


List  of  Illustrations 

Plate  facikg  page 

79.  On  the  Way  to  the  Summit 266 

80.  The  Glen  Anchorage  from  the  Higher  Slopes  .         .         .  267 

81.  The  Quest  seen  through  the  Archway  Rock,  Gough  Island  276 

82.  Dell  Rocks,  at  the  North-eastern  End  of  Glen  Beach        .  277 

83.  Lot's  Wife  Cove  and  Church  Rocks,  Gough  Island  .         .  284 

84.  Lot's  Wife,  Gough  Island 285 

85.  The  Quest  Entering  Table  Bay— The  Quest  in  Dock  at 

Cape  Town      ........  288 

86.  The  Summit  of  Ascension  Island  .....  289 
8y.  The  Abandoned  Wireless  Station  on  Ascension  Island — 

Flowering  Plants  Growing  in  the  Volcanic  Ash  at  Ascen- 
sion Island      ........  304 

88.  Wideawake  Plain,  Ascension  Island — A  Wideawake         .  305 

89.  Weatherpost  Hill,  Ascension  Island,  Looking  East  .         .  308 

90.  A  View  in  San  Miguel  in  the  Azores       ....  309 

91.  Booby  with  Chick — A  Booby  Chick        ....  316 

92.  Types  of  Fish  Caught  in  the  Lagoon  at  St.  Paul's  Rocks 

— White-capped  Noddies  at  St.  Paul's  Rocks       .         .  317 

93.  Gent 00  Penguin  with  Two  Chicks — Nesting  Ground  of  the 

Mollymauk 320 

94.  Giant  Petrel  at  Nest 321 

95.  The  Surface  of  a  Glacier,  showing  Numerous  Crevasses    .  336 

96.  Sea-elephants  in  Tussock  Grass     .....  337 

97.  The  Island  Tree  {Phylica  nitida) — Sea-elephants  among 

the  Rocks 340 

98.  Commander  Worsley  taking  Observations  of  the  Sun  by 

Sextant — Hussey   (Taking  Sea    Temperatures),  Com- 
mander Wild  and  Mcllroy         .....  341 

99.  Setting  up  Kites  for  the  Taking  of  Meteorological  Observa- 

tions         348 

100    An  Apparatus  for  Bringing  Up  Specimens  of  the  Sea 

Bottom  .........  349 


Shackleton's   Last  Voyage 



AFTER  the  finish  of  the  Great  War,  which  had 
.  employed  every  able-bodied  man  in  the  country  in 
one  way  or  another,  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  returned  to 
London  and  wrote  his  famous  epic  "  South,"  the  story 
of  the  Imperial  Trans-Antarctic  Expedition.  Before  it 
was  finished  he  had  again  felt  the  call  of  the  ice,  and 
concluded  his  book  with  the  following  sentence : 
"  Though  some  have  gone,  there  are  enough  to  rally 
round  and  form  a  nucleus  for  the  next  expedition,  when 
troublous  times  are  over,  and  scientific  exploration  can 
once  more  be  legitimately  undertaken." 

For  many  years  he  had  had  an  inclination  to  take 
an  expedition  into  the  Arctic  and  compare  the  two  ice 
zones.  He  felt,  too,  a  keen  desire  to  pit  himself  against 
the  American  and  Norwegian  explorers  who  of  recent 
years  had  held  the  foremost  position  in  Arctic  explora- 
tion, to  win  for  the  British  flag  a  further  renown,  and  to 
add  to  the  sum  of  British  achievements  in  the  frozen 

There  is  still,  in  spite  of  the  long  and  unremitting 
siege  which  has  gradually  tinted  the  uncoloured  portions 
of  the  map  and  brought  within  our  ken  section  after 
section  of  the  unexplored  areas,  a  large  blank  space 

B  1 

2  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

comprising  what  is  known  as  the  Beaufort  Sea,  approxi- 
mately in  the  centre  of  which  is  the  point  called  by 
Stefansson  the  "  centre  of  the  zone  of  inaccessibility." 
It  was  the  exploration  of  this  area  that  Sir  Ernest  made 
his  aim.  In  addition  he  felt  a  strong  desire  to  clear  up 
the  mystery  of  the  North  Pole,  and  for  ever  settle  the 
Peary-Cook  controversy,  which  did  so  much  to  alienate 
public  sympathy  from  Polar  enterprise. 

It  is  characteristic  of  him  that  before  proceeding 
with  any  part  of  the  organization  he  wrote  first  to  Mr. 
Stefansson,  the  Canadian  explorer,  to  ask  if  the  new 
expedition  would  interfere  with  any  plan  of  his.  He 
received  in  reply  a  letter  saying  that  not  only  did  it  not 
interfere  in  any  way,  but  that  he  (Stefansson)  would  be 
glad  to  afford  any  help  that  lay  in  his  power  and  put  at 
his  disposal  any  information  which  might  prove  valuable. 

Sir  Ernest's  plans  were  the  result  of  several  years 
of  hard  work  with  careful  reference  to  the  records  of 
previous  explorers,  and  his  organization  was  remarkable 
for  its  completeness  and  detail. 

The  proposed  expedition  had  an  added  interest  in 
that  the  whole  of  his  Polar  experience  was  gained  in  the 
Antarctic.  It  met  with  instant  recognition  from  the  lead- 
ing scientists  and  geographers  of  this  country,  who  saw 
in  it  far-reaching  and  valuable  results.  The  Council 
of  the  Royal  Geographical  Society  sent  a  letter  which 
showed  their  appreciation  of  the  importance  of  the  work, 
and  expressed  their  approval  of  himself  as  commander 
<tiid  of  the  names  he  had  submitted  as  those  of  men 
eminently  qualified  to  make  a  strong  personnel  for  the 

Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  was  fortunate  in  securing  the 
active  co-operation  in  the  working  out  of  his  plans  of 

Inception  3 

Dr.  H.  R.  Mill,  the  greatest  living  authority  on  Polar 

The  scheme,  however,  was  an  ambitious  one,  and 
was  likely  to  prove  costly. 

The  period  following  the  end  of  the  war  was  perhaps 
not  a  suitable  one  in  many  ways  to  commence  an  under- 
taking of  this  nature,  for  Sir  Ernest  had  the  greatest 
difficulty  in  raising  the  necessary  funds.  In  this  country 
he  received  the  support  of  Mr.  John  Quiller  Rowett  and 
Sir  Frederick  Becker. 

Feeling  that  the  work  of  exploration  and  the  possible 
discovery  of  new  lands  in  what  may  be  called  the  Cana- 
dian sector  of  the  Arctic  was  likely  to  be  of  interest  to 
the  Canadian  Government,  he  visited  Ottawa,  where  he 
was  in  close  touch  with  many  of  the  leading  members 
of  the  Canadian  House  of  Commons.  He  returned  to 
this  country  well  pleased  with  his  visit,  and  stated  that 
he  had  obtained  the  active  co-operation  of  several 
prominent  Canadians  and  received  from  the  Canadian 
Government  the  promise  of  a  grant  of  money. 

He  was  now  in  a  position  to  start  work,  and 
immediately  threw  himself  into  the  preparation  of  the 
expedition.  He  got  together  a  small  nucleus  of  men 
well  known  to  him,  including  some  who  had  accom- 
panied him  on  the  Endurance  expedition,  designed  and 
ordered  a  quantity  of  special  stores  and  equipment, 
and  bought  a  ship  which  cost  as  an  initial  outlay 
;^ii,ooo.  Dr.  Macklin  was  sent  to  Canada  to  buy  and 
collect  together  at  some  suitable  spot  a  hundred  good 
sledge-dogs  of  the  ''  Husky  "  type. 

It  would  be  impossible  to  convey  an  accurate  idea  of 
the  closely  detailed  work  which  is  involved  in  the  pre- 
paration for  a  Polar  expedition.    Much  of  the  equipment 

4  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

is  of  a  highly  technical  nature  and  requires  to  be  specially 
manufactured.  Everything  must  be  carried  and  nothing 
must  be  forgotten,  for  once  away  the  most  trivial  article 
cannot  be  obtained.  Everything  also  must  be  of  good 
quality  and  sound  design;  and  each  article,  whatever 
it  may  be,  must  function  properly  when  actually  put 
into  use. 

At  what  was  almost  the  last  moment,  whilst  prepara- 
tions were  in  full  swing,  the  Canadian  Government, 
being  more  or  less  committed  to  a  policy  of  retrench- 
ment, discovered  that  they  were  not  in  a  position  to 
advance  funds  for  this  purpose,  and  withdrew  their 
support.  This  was  a  great  blow,  for  it  made  impossible 
the  continuance  of  the  scheme. 

In  the  meantime  the  bulk  of  the  personnel  had  been 
collected,  some  of  the  men  having  come  from  far  distant 
parts  of  the  world  to  join  in  the  adventure,  abandon- 
ing their  businesses  to  do  so.  Some  of  us,  know- 
ing of  the  scheme,  had  waited  for  two  years,  putting 
aside  permanent  employment  so  that  we  might  be  free 
to  join  when  required;  for  such  is  the  extraordinary 
attraction  of  Polar  exploration  to  those  who  have  once 
engaged  in  it,  that  they  will  give  up  much,  often  all  they 
have,  to  pit  themselves  once  more  against  the  ice  and 
gamble  with  their  lives  in  this  greatest  of  all  games  of 
chance.  Yet  if  you  were  to  ask  what  is  the  attraction 
or  where  the  fascination  of  it  lies,  probably  not  one  could 
give  you  an  answer. 

Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  received  the  blow  with  out- 
ward equanimity,  which  was  not  shaken  when,  with  the 
decision  of  the  Canadian  Government,  the  more  timorous 
of  his  supporters  also  withdrew.  Always  seen  at  his  best 
in  adverse  circumstances,  he  wasted  no  time  in  useless 


Photo:  F.  &^  A.   Sivnine 


I    i 

Photo  :    F.  &f  A.  Swauie 


Inception  5 

complainings,  but  started  even  at  this  eleventh  hour  to 
remodel  his  plans. 

Nevertheless,  the  situation  was  a  very  difficult  one. 
He  had  committed  himself  to  heavy  expenditure,  and 
what  weighed  not  least  with  him  at  this  time  was  his 
consideration  for  the  men  who  had  come  to  join  the 
enterprise.  At  this  critical  point  Mr.  John  Quiller 
Rowett  came  forward  to  bear  an  active  part  in  the  work, 
and  took  upon  his  shoulders  practically  the  whole 
financial  responsibility  of  the  expedition.  The  import- 
ance of  this  action  cannot  be  too  much  emphasized,  for 
without  it  the  carrying  on  of  the  work  would  have  been 

Mr.  Rowett  had  a  wide  outlook  which  enabled  him  to 
take  a  keen  interest  in  all  scientific  affairs.  Previous  to 
this  he  had  helped  to  found  the  Rowett  Institute  for 
Agricultural  Research  at  Aberdeen,  and  had  prompted 
and  given  practical  support  to  researches  in  medicine, 
chemistry  and  several  other  branches  of  science.  His 
many  interests  included  geographical  discovery,  and  he 
saw  clearly  the  important  bearing  which  conditions  in 
the  Polar  regions  have  upon  the  temperate  zones.  He 
saw  also  the  possible  economic  value  of  the  observations 
and  data  which  would  be  collected. 

His  name  must  therefore  rank  amongst  the  great 
supporters  of  Polar  exploration,  such  as  the  brothers 
Enderby,  Sir  George  Newnes  and  Mr.  A.  C.  Harms- 
worth  (afterwards  Lord  Northcliffe). 

Mr.  Rowett's  generous  action  is  the  more  remarkable 
in  that  he  was  fully  aware  in  giving  this  support  to  the 
expedition  that  there  was  no  prospect  of  financial  return. 
What  he  did  was  done  purely  out  of  friendship  to 
Shackleton  and  in  the  interests  of  science.     The  new 

6  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

expedition  was  named  the  Shackleton-Rowett  Expedi- 
tion, and  announcement  of  it  was  received  by  the  public 
with  the  greatest  interest. 

As  it  was  now  too  late  to  catch  the  Arctic  open  season, 
the  northern  expedition  was  cancelled,  and  Sir  Ernest 
reverted  to  one  of  his  old  schemes  for  scientific  research 
in  the  South,  which  again  met  with  the  approval  of  the 
chief  scientific  bodies. 

This  change  of  plans  threw  an  enormous  burden  of 
work  not  only  upon  Sir  Ernest,  but  also  upon  those  of 
us  who  formed  his  staff  at  this  period,  for  we  had  little 
time  in  which  to  complete  the  preparations.  Dr.  Macklin 
was  recalled  from  Canada,  for  under  the  new  scheme 
sledge-dogs  were  not  required. 

The  programme  did  not  aim  at  the  attainment  of 
the  Pole  or  include  any  prolonged  land  journey,  but 
made  its  main  object  the  taking  of  observations  and 
the  collection  of  scientific  data  in  Antarctic  and  sub- 
Antarctic  areas. 

The  proposed  route  led  to  the  following  places  :  St. 
Paul's  Rocks  on  the  Equator,  South  Trinidad  Island, 
Tristan  da  Cunha,  Inaccessible  Island,  Nightingale  and 
Middle  Islands,  Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island,  and 
thence  to  Cape  Town. 

Cape  Town  was  to  be  the  base  for  operations  in  the 
ice,  and  a  depot  of  stores  for  that  part  of  the  journey 
would  be  formed  there.  The  route  led  eastward  from 
there  to  Marion,  Crozet  and  Heard  Islands,  and  then 
into  the  ice,  where  the  track  to  be  followed  was,  of 
course,  problematical,  but  would  lead  westwards,  to 
emerge  again  at  South  Georgia. 

From  South  Georgia  it  led  to  Bouvet  Island,  and 
back  to  Cape  Town  to  refit.     From  Cape  Town,  the 

£  =  s 


I.   "3    o   — 


O    a 



Vj  — 

•-  J5 

r  '^- 


Inception  7 

second  time,  the  route  included  New  Zealand,  Rara- 
tonga,  Tuanaki  (the  "  Lost  Island  "),  Dougherty  Island, 
the  Birdwood  Bank,  and  home  via  the  Atlantic. 

The  scientific  work  included  the  taking  of  meteoro- 
logical observations,  including  air  and  sea  temperatures, 
kite  and  balloon  work,  magnetic  observations,  hydro- 
graphical  and  oceanographical  work,  including  an  exten- 
sive series  of  soundings,  and  the  mapping  and  careful 
charting  of  little-known  islands.  Search  was  to  be  made 
for  lands  marked  on  the  map  as  "  doubtful."  A  collec- 
tion of  natural  history  specimens  would  be  made,  and 
a  geological  survey  and  examination  carried  out  in  all 
the  places  visited.  Ice  observations  would  be  carried  on 
in  the  South,  and  an  attempt  made  to  reach  and  map 
out  new  land  in  the  Enderby  Quadrant.  Photography 
was  made  a  special  feature,  and  a  large  and  expensive 
outfit  of  cameras,  cinematograph  machines  and  general 
photographic  appliances  acquired. 

The  Admiralty  and  the  Air  Ministry  co-operated  and 
materially  assisted  by  lending  much  of  the  scientific 
apparatus.  Lieut.-Commander  R.  T.  Gould,  of  the 
Hydrographic  Department,  provided  us  with  books  and 
reports  of  previous  explorers  concerning  the  little-known 
parts  of  our  route,  and  his  information,  gleaned  from  all 
sources  and  collected  together  for  our  use,  proved  of 
the  greatest  value. 

It  was  decided  to  carry  an  aeroplane  or  seaplane  to 
assist  in  aerial  observations  and  to  be  used  as  the  "  eyes  " 
of  the  expedition  in  the  South.  Flying  machines  had 
never  before  been  used  in  Polar  exploration,  and  there 
were  obvious  difficulties  in  the  way  of  extreme  cold  and 
lack  of  adequate  accommodation,  but  after  consultation 
with  the  Air  Ministry  it  was  thought  possible  to  overcome 

8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

them.  The  machine  ultimately  selected  was  a  *'  Baby" 
seaplane,  designed  and  manufactured  by  the  Avro 

One  of  the  first  things  done  by  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton 
in  preparing  for  the  northern  expedition  had  been  the 
purchase  of  a  small  wooden  vessel  of  125  tons,  named 
the  Foca  i.  She  was  built  in  Norway,  fitted  with 
auxiliary  steam-engines  of  compound  type  and  125 
horse-power.  She  was  originally  designed  for  sealing 
in  Arctic  waters,  the  hull  was  strongly  made,  and  the 
timbers  were  supported  by  wooden  beams  with  natural 
bends  of  enormous  strength.  The  bow  was  of  solid  oak 
sheathed  with  steel.  Her  length  was  iii  feet,  beam 
23  feet,  and  her  sides  were  2  feet  thick.  Her  draught 
was  9  feet  forward  and  14  feet  aft.  She  was  ketch- 
rigged,  and  was  reputed  to  be  able  to  steam  at  seven 
knots  in  still  water  and  to  do  the  same  with  sail  only 
in  favourable  winds. 

At  the  happy  suggestion  of  Lady  Shackleton  she 
was  re-named  the  Quest. 

Sir  Ernest  received  what  he  considered  the  greatest 
honour  of  his  life.  The  Quest  as  his  yacht  was  elected 
to  the  Royal  Yacht  Squadron.  Perhaps  a  more  ugly, 
businesslike  little  "  yacht  "  never  flew  the  burgee,  and 
her  appearance  must  have  contrasted  strangely  with  the 
beautiful  and  shapely  lines  of  her  more  aristocratic 

She  was  brought  to  Southampton  in  March,  192 1, 
and  placed  in  the  shipyards  for  extensive  alterations. 
The  work  was  greatly  impeded  by  the  strike  of  ship 
workers,  the  general  coal  strike  which  occurred  at  that 
time,  and  by  difficulties  generally  with  labour,  which  was 
then  passing  through  a  very  critical  period. 

Inception  9 

It  had  been  intended  to  take  out  the  steam-engines 
and  substitute  an  internal  combustion  motor  of  the 
Diesel  type,  but  owing  to  the  difficulties  mentioned  this 
had  to  be  abandoned,  and  on  the  advice  of  the  surveying 
engineer  in  charge  of  the  work  the  old  engines  were 
retained.  The  bunker  space  was  readjusted  at  the 
expense  of  the  fore-hold,  allowing  a  carrying  capacity 
of  120  tons  of  coal,  and  giving  a  steaming  radius  which, 
with  economy  and  use  of  sail,  was  estimated  at  from  four 
to  five  thousand  miles. 

This  work  was  in  process  when  it  became  necessary 
to  alter  the  plans  of  the  expedition,  and  Sir  Ernest 
realized  that  the  Quest,  which  had  been  considered 
eminently  suitable  for  the  northern  scheme,  was  not  so 
well  adapted  for  the  long  cruise  in  southern  waters.  It 
was  impossible  at  this  stage  to  change  the  ship,  but 
further  alterations  were  made  on  deck  and  in  the  rigging 
generally  to  adapt  her  for  the  new  conditions. 

Two  yards  were  fitted,  a  topsail  yard,  39  feet  in 
length,  and  a  foreyard  to  carry  a  large  squaresail,  44  feet 
in  length.  The  mizen-mast  was  lengthened  to  give  a 
greater  clearance  to  the  wireless  aerials.  The  existing 
bridge  was  enlarged,  carried  across  the  full  breadth  of  the 
ship,  and  completely  enclosed  with  windows  of  Triplex 
glass.  The  roof  formed  an  upper  bridge  open  to  the  air. 
To  improve  the  accommodation,  which  was  inadequate,  a 
deck-house,  12  feet  by  20  feet,  was  erected  on  the  fore- 
deck.  It  contained  five  rooms  :  four  small  cabins,  and  a 
room  for  housing  hydrographical  and  meteorological  in- 
struments. New  canvas  and  running  gear  was  fitted 
throughout,  and  no  expense  spared  to  make  her  sound 
and  seaworthy.  Mr.  Rowett  was  absolutely  insistent  that 
everything  about  the  ship  must  be  such  as  to  ensure  her 

10  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

safety  and  the  safety  of  all  on  board  in  so  far  as  it  was 
humanly  possible.  To  everything  in  connexion  with  the 
ship  herself  Sir  Ernest,  as  an  experienced  seaman,  gave 
his  personal  attention.  The  work  of  the  engine-room, 
which,  as  he  was  not  an  engineer,  he  was  not  able  to 
supervise  directly,  was  entrusted  to  a  consulting 

The  Quest,  though  strong  and  well  equipped,  was 
small,  and  consequently  accommodation  generally  was 
limited  and  living  quarters  were  somewhat  cramped. 
The  forecastle  was  fitted  as  a  small  biological  laboratory 
and  geological  workroom.  In  it  were  a  bench  for  the 
naturalist  and  numerous  cupboards  for  the  storing  of 
specimens.  Leading  from  it  on  one  side  was  a  small 
cabin  with  two  bunks  for  the  naturalist  and  photographer 
respectively,  and  on  the  other  was  the  photographic  dark 

The  amount  of  gear  placed  aboard  the  ship  was 
large,  and  the  greatest  ingenuity  was  required  to  stow 
it  satisfactorily. 

Two  wireless  transmitting  and  receiving  sets,  of 
naval  pattern,  were  installed  under  the  immediate  super- 
vision of  a  wireless  expert,  kindly  lent  to  us  by  the 
Admiralty.  The  current  for  them  was  supplied  by  two 
generators,  one  a  steam  dynamo  producing  220  volts, 
and  a  smaller  paraffin  internal-combustion  motor  produc- 
ing no  volts.  The  Quest  being  a  wooden  yessel,  there 
was  great  difficulty  in  providing  suitable  "  earthing." 
For  this  purpose  two  copper  plates  were  attached  to 
either  side  of  the  ship  below  the  water-line. 

The  more  powerful  of  these  sets  was  never  very 
satisfactory,  and  we  ultimately  abandoned  its  use.  The 
smaller  proved  entirely  satisfactory  for  transmitting  at 


Fhoto:  Topical. 


Photo:   Topical 

Inception  ii 

distances  up  to  250  miles.  The  receiving  apparatus  was 
chiefly  of  value  in  obtaining  time  signals,  which  are  sent 
out  nightly  from  nearly  all  the  large  wireless  stations, 
and  which  we  received  at  distances  up  to  3,000  miles. 
By  this  means  we  were  frequently  able,  whilst  in  the 
South,  to  check  our  chronometers ;  but  atmospheric  con- 
ditions in  those  regions  were  very  bad,  and  by  producing 
loud  adventitious  noises  in  the  ear-pieces  interfered  so 
much  with  the  clarity  of  sounds  that  the  obtaining  of 
accurate  signals  was  generally  impossible. 

A  Sperry  gyroscopic  compass  was  installed,  the  gyro- 
scopic apparatus  being  placed  in  the  deck-house,  with 
repeaters  in  the  enclosed  bridge  and  on  the  upper  bridge. 
The  dials  were  luminous,  so  that  they  could  be  read  at 
night.  This  apparatus  has  the  advantage  that  it  is  inde- 
pendent of  immediate  outside  influences.  It  is  usually 
supposed  that  at  65°  north  or  south  it  ceases  to  be 
effective,  but  we  found  that  the  directive  force  was  still 
sufficient  at  69°  south.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  this 
compass  was  designed  by  a  German  scientist  to  enable 
a  submarine  to  reach  the  North  Pole.  It  has  been  of  the 
greatest  use  to  ships  in  a  general  way,  but  for  the  one 
specific  purpose  for  which  it  was  designed  it  proved  to 
be  useless  owing  to  the  loss  of  directive  power  at  the 
Poles.  We  found  that  bumping  the  ship  through  ice 
caused  derangement,  and  as  the  compass  took  several 
hours  to  settle  down  again  to  normal,  it  proved  ineffective 
whilst  we  were  navigating  through  the  pack. 

Fitted  into  the  enclosed  bridge  and  looking  forward 
were  two  Kent  clear-view  screens.  They  were  elec- 
trically driven.  They  proved,  when  running,  to  be 
absolutely  effective  against  rain,  snow  or  spray. 

The  ship  was  fitted  throughout  with  electric  lighting, 

12  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

including  the  navigating  lights.  Whilst  in  the  South, 
however,  the  necessity  for  economy  of  fuel  forbade  the 
use  of  electricity  and  we  had  recourse  to  oil  lamps.  As 
we  were  then  completely  out  of  the  track  of  shipping, 
navigating  lights  were  not  used. 

Two  sounding  machines  were  installed,  one  an  eleC' 
trically-driven  Kelvin  apparatus  for  depths  up  to  300 
fathoms.  To  obtain  accurate  soundings  whilst  the  ship 
was  under  way,  the  sinker  was  fitted  to  carry  sounding 
tubes,  and  had  also  an  arrangement  for  indicating  the 
nature  of  the  bottom,  whether  rock,  shingle  or  sand. 
For  deep-sea  work  we  had  a  Lucas  steam-driven 
machine,  which  was  affixed  to  a  special  platform  on  the 
port  bow  and  supplied  by  a  flexible  tube  from  the  steam 
pipe  feeding  the  forward  winch.  This  apparatus  regis- 
tered depths  to  four  miles.  Sounding  with  it  was  often 
difficult  on  account  of  the  swell  and  the  liveliness 
of  the  Quest,  but  the  machine  itself  gave  every  satis- 
faction. The  wire  used  with  the  Lucas  machine  was 
Brunton  wire  in  coils  of  6,000  fathoms,  diameter  .028, 
weight  12.3  lbs.  per  1,000  fathoms,  with  a  breaking 
strain  of  200  lbs. 

The  meteorological  equipment  included  : 

Screens,  containing  wet  and  dry  bulb  thermometers, 
placed  in  exposed  positions  on  the  upper  bridge. 

One  large  screen,  containing  hair  hygrograph,  stand- 
ard thermometer  and  thermograph. 

(The  heavy  seas  which  broke  over  the  ship  and  flung 
sprays  over  the  upper  bridge  greatly  interfered  with  the 
efficient  working  of  these  instruments  by  encrusting  them 
with  salt,  and  necessitated  constant  cleaning.) 

Hydrometers,  for  determining  the  specific  gravity  of 
sea-water,  which  gives  a  measure  of  the  total  salinity. 

Photo :  Topical 

THE    QVEST    AT    HAY'S    WHARF, 
Where  she  was  fitted  out  for  the  trip 

Inception  13 

Sea-thermometers,  for  determining  the  surface  tem- 
peratures of  the  sea-water. 

Marine  pattern  mercury  barometer. 

Aneroid  barometers,  checked  daily  from  the  mercury 
barometer,  in  case  the  latter  should  be  broken. 

Barograph,  to  obtain  continuous  records  of  the  air 

For  upper-air  work  four  cylinders  of  hydrogen  and 
several  hundred  pilot  balloons  were  taken.  (These 
latter  were  sent  up  on  many  occasions  from  the  ship, 
but  the  Quest  proved  to  be  so  lively  that  it  was  impos- 
sible to  keep  them  in  the  field  of  view  of  a  telescope  or 
even  of  field-glasses.) 

All  the  instruments  were  very  kindly  lent  to  us  by 
the  Meteorological  Section  of  the  Air  Ministry,  and  were 
of  standard  make  and  pattern. 

We  carried  a  good  set  of  sextants,  theodolites,  dip 
circles  and  other  accurate  surveying  instruments. 

Several  chronometers  of  different  makes  and  patterns 
were  placed  aboard.  Two  of  them,  specially  rated  for  us 
by  Mr.  Bagge,  of  the  Waltham  Watch  Company,  gave 
excellent  results  and,  in  spite  of  the  violent  motion  of  the 
ship  and  the  difficulty  of  keeping  a  uniform  temperature, 
maintained  a  remarkably  even  rating. 

The  medical  equipment  was  designed  for  compact- 
ness and  all-round  usefulness. 

Sledges,  harness,  warm  clothing,  footgear  and  an 
amount  of  scientific  equipment  were  forwarded  to  Cape 
Town  and  warehoused  to  await  the  arrival  of  the  Quest. 

The  greatest  difficulty  was  experienced  in  the  housing 
of  the  seaplane,  but,  after  dismantling  wings  and  floats, 
room  was  eventually  found  for  it  in  the  port  alleyway, 
which  it  almost  filled. 

14  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Sir  Ernest  Shackleton,  as  has  already  been  said,  in 
choosing  his  personnel  selected  first  of  all  a  nucleus  of 
well-tried  and  experienced  men  who  had  served  with  him 
before,  appointing  me  as  second  in  command  of  the 
expedition.  They  included  Worsley,  Macklin,  Hussey, 
Mcllroy,  Kerr,  Green  and  McLeod.  Applications  for 
the  remaining  posts  came  in  thousands,  and  many  women 
wrote  asking  if  a  job  could  be  found  for  them,  offering  to 
mend,  sew,  nurse  or  cook. 

Two  other  men  with  previous  experience  were 
obtained  :  Wilkins,  who  served  with  the  Canadian  Arctic 
Expedition  under  Stefansson,  and  Dell,  who  had  served 
with  Captain  Scott  in  the  Discovery,  and  was  thus  known 
to  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  and  myself.  Lieut.-Com- 
mander  Jeffrey,  an  officer  of  the  Royal  Naval  Reserve, 
who  had  served  with  distinction  during  the  war,  was 
appointed  navigating  officer  for  the  ship.  Major  Carr, 
who  had  gained  much  experience  of  flying  as  an  officer 
of  the  R.A.F.,  was  appointed  in  charge  of  the  seaplane. 

A  geologist  was  required,  the  selection  falling  upon 
G.  V.  Douglas,  a  graduate  of  McGill  University,  whom 
Sir  Ernest  had  met  in  Canada. 

Mr.  Bee  Mason  was  appointed  photographer  and 

Amongst  the  remainder  there  was  need  of  a  good 
boy.  Sir  Ernest  conceived  the  idea  of  throwing  the 
post  open  to  a  Boy  Scout,  and  the  suggestion  was 
taken  up  with  the  greatest  enthusiasm  by  the  Boy  Scout 
organization.  The  post  was  advertised  in  the  Daily 
Mail,  and  immediately  a  flood  of  applications  poured  in 
from  every  part  of  the  country.  These  were  finally 
filtered  down  to  the  ten  most  suitable,  and  the  applicants 
were  instructed  to  assemble  in  London,  the  Daily  Mail 

Inception  15 

making  the  necessary  arrangements  and  defraying  the 
costs.  These  ten  boys  all  had  excellent  records,  and 
Sir  Ernest,  in  finally  making  his  selection,  was  so 
embarrassed  in  his  choice  that  he  selected  two.  They 
were  J.  W.  S.  Marr,  an  Aberdeen  boy,  and  Norman  E. 
Mooney,  a  native  of  the  Orkneys. 

There  remained  but  three  places  to  fill :  C.  Smith,  an 
officer  of  the  R.M.S.P.  Company,  was  appointed  second 
engineer;  P.O.  Telegraphist  Watts,  wireless  operator; 
and  Eriksen,  a  Norwegian  by  birth,  was  taken  on  as 
harpoon  expert. 

Sir  Ernest,  in  order  fully  to  carry  out  his  programme, 
was  anxious  to  leave  England  not  later  than  August 
20th,  but  owing  to  a  general  strike  of  ships'  joiners, 
dilatory  workmanship  and  other  unavoidable  causes, 
the  sailing  was  postponed  well  beyond  that  date. 

At  length  all  was  ready;  food  stores  and  equip- 
ment, which  included  not  only  the  highly  technical  and 
specialized  Antarctic  gear,  but  also  such  minute  details 
as  pins,  needles  and  pieces  of  tape,  were  placed  on  board, 
and  the  ship  was  ready  for  sea. 

The  new  expedition  had  been  organized,  equipped 
and  got  ready  for  departure  all  within  three  months. 
There  are  few  who  will  realize  what  this  means.  No 
other  man  than  Sir  Ernest  would  have  attempted  it,  and 
no  other  could  have  accomplished  it  successfully.  It 
was,  as  he  often  said  himself,  only  through  the  staunch 
support  and  active  co-operation  of  Mr.  Rowett,  who 
aided  and  encouraged  him  throughout  this  period,  that 
he  was  able  to  leave  England  that  year.  Postponement 
at  such  an  advanced  stage  was  impossible,  and  would 
have  meant  the  total  abandonment  of  the  expedition. 
We  left  London  finally  on  September  17th,  192 1. 



WE  dipped  our  ensign  in  a  last  farewell  to 
London  as  we  passed  out  from  St.  Katherine's 
Dock,  and  turned  our  nose  down-river  for  Graves- 
end,  a  tiny  vessel  even  amongst  the  small  ship- 
ping which  comes  thus  far  up  the  river.  We  were 
accompanied  on  this  part  of  our  journey  by  Mr.  Rowett, 
who  had  taken  a  keen  personal  interest  in  everything 
connected  with  the  expedition.  Enthusiastic  crowds 
cheered  us  at  the  start,  and  everybody  we  met  wished  us 
"  Good  luck  and  safe  return."  The  ensign  was  kept  in 
a  continuous  dance  answering  the  bunting  which  dipped 
from  the  staffs  of  every  vessel  we  met.  Ships  of  many 
maritime  nations  were  collected  in  this  cosmopolitan 
river,  and  these,  too,  joined  in  wishing  success  to  our 

At  Gravesend  Mr.  Rowett  left  us,  and  Sir  Ernest 
returned  with  him  to  London  with  the  object  of 
rejoining  at  Plymouth.  A  strong  north-easterly  wind 
was  blowing,  and  we  lay  for  the  night  oif  Gravesend.  In 
the  small  hours  of  the  morning  we  were  startled  from 
sleep  by  the  watchman  crying,  "  The  anchor's  drag- 
ging !  "  and  turned  out  to  find  that  we  were  bearing 
down  on  a  Thames  hopper  that  was  moored  near  by. 
The  Quest  would  not  answer  her  helm,  and  before  we 
were  able  to  bring  her  up  she  had  fouled  the  stays  of  the 
hopper  with  her  bowsprit.    Pyjama-clad   figures  leapt 


London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  17 

from  their  bunks,  and  in  the  dim  light  presented  a 
curious  spectacle.  Two  or  three  of  our  men  jumped  on 
to  the  deck  of  the  hopper,  and  by  loosening  a  bolt 
succeeded  in  letting  go  one  of  her  stays,  when  we  swung 

Kerr  rapidly  raised  a  sufficient  pressure  of  steam  in 
the  boilers  to  get  the  engines  going,  and  we  soon 
regained  control. 

We  brought  up  with  our  anchor,  which  had  been  act- 
ing as  a  dredge,  the  most  amazing  collection  of  stuff, 
which  gave  an  interesting  sidelight  on  the  composition 
of  the  Thames  floor. 

No  damage  was  received  beyond  a  chafe  to  the  bow- 
sprit. We  were  anxious,  however,  to  leave  with  every- 
thing in  good  order,  and  so  proceeded  to  Sheerness 
Dockyard,  where  a  new  spar  was  put  in  for  us  by  the 
naval  authorities  with  a  promptness  and  dispatch  that 
contrasted  strongly  with  the  dilatory  methods  employed 
previously  in  the  shipyards. 

We  had  an  exceptionally  fine  trip  down  Channel 
under  the  pilotage  of  Captain  F.  Bridgland,  who  was  an 
old  friend  of  ours,  having  taken  the  ship  from  Southamp- 
ton to  London. 

We  reached  Plymouth  on  the  23rd,  and  were  joined 
there  by  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  and  Mr.  Gerald  Lysaght, 
a  keen  yachtsman,  who  had  been  invited  to  accompany 
us  as  far  as  Madeira.  The  Boss  brought  with  him  an 
Alsatian  wolf-hound  puppy,  a  beautiful  well-bred  animal 
with  a  long  pedigree,  which  had  been  presented  to  him 
by  a  friend  as  a  mascot.  "  Query,"  as  he  was  named, 
quickly  became  a  fast  favourite  with  all  on  board.  Mr. 
Rowett  also  came  from  London  to  see  us  off,  and  we 
had  with  him  a  last  cheery  dinner.    He  was  very  popular 


i8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

with  all  of  us,  for  in  addition  to  his  support  of  expedition 
affairs  he  had  taken  a  personal  interest  in  every  member 
of  the  company. 

On  the  24th  we  steamed  out  into  the  Sound  and 
moored  to  a  buoy,  where  the  ship  was  swung  and  the 
compasses  adjusted  by  Commander  Traill-Smith,  R.N., 
who  kindly  undertook  this  important  work.  The 
Admiralty  tug  used  to  swing  the  Quest  accentuated  her 
smallness,  for  she  was  many  times  our  size  and  towered 
high  above  us. 

This  task  completed,  we  put  out  to  sea,  pleased,  as 
Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  said  at  the  time,  to  be  making 
our  final  departure  from  a  town  that  has  ever  been 
associated  with  maritime  enterprise. 

The  following  extracts  are  from  Sir  Ernest  Shackle- 
ton's  own  diary : 

Saturday y  September  24/^,  192 1. 

At  last  we  are  off.  The  last  of  the  cheering 
crowded  boats  have  turned,  the  sirens  of  shore  and 
sea  are  still,  and  in  the  calm  hazy  gathering  dusk  on 
a  glassy  sea  we  move  on  the  long  quest.  Providence 
is  with  us  even  now.  At  this  time  of  equinoctial 
gales  not  a  catspaw  of  wind  is  apparent.  I  turn  from 
the  glooming  immensity  of  the  sea  and,  looking  at 
the  decks  of  the  Quest,  am  roused  from  dreams  of 
what  may  be  in  the  future  to  the  needs  of  the  moment, 
for  in  no  way  are  we  shipshape  or  fitted  to  ignore 
even  the  mildest  storm.  Deep  in  the  water,  decks 
littered  with  stores,  our  very  life-boats  receptacles  for 
sliced  bacon  and  green  vegetables  for  sea-stock; 
steel  ropes  and  hempen  brothers  jostle  each  other; 
mysterious  gadgets  connected  with  the  wireless,  on 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  19 

which  the  Admiralty  officials  were  working  up  to  the 
sailing  hour,  are  scattered  about.  But  our  twenty-one 
willing  hands  will  soon  snug  her  down. 

A  more  personal  and  perplexing  problem  is  my 
cabin — or  my  temporary  cabin,  for  Gerald  Lysaght 
has  mine  till  we  reach  Madeira — for  hundreds  of 
telegrams  of  farewell  have  to  be  dealt  with.  Kind 
thoughts  and  kind  actions,  as  witness  the  many 
parcels,  some  of  dainty  food,  some  of  continuous  use, 
which  crowd  up  the  bunk.  Yet  there  is  no  time  to 
answer  them  now. 

We  worked  late,  lashing  up  and  making  fast  the 
most  vital  things  on  deck.  Our  wireless  was  going 
all  the  time,  receiving  messages  and  sending  out 
answers.  Towards  midnight  a  swell  from  the  west 
made  us  roll,  and  the  sea  lopped  in  through  our  wash- 
ports.  About  I  A.M.  the  glare  of  the  Aquitania  s  lights 
became  visible  as  she  sped  past  a  little  to  the  south- 
ward of  us,  going  west,  and  I  received  farewell 
messages  from  Sir  James  Charles  and  Spedding.^  I 
wish  it  had  been  daylight. 

At  2  A.M.  I  turned  in.  We  are  crowded.  For  in 
addition  to  Mcllroy  and  Lysaght,  I  have  old  McLeod 
as  stoker. 

Sunday^  September  2^th. 

Fair  easterly  wind;  our  topsail  and  foresail  set. 
All  day  cleaning  up  with  all  hands.  We  saw  the  last 
of  England — the  Scilly  Isles  and  Bishop  Rock,  with 
big  seas  breaking  on  them;  and  now  we  head  out  to 
the  west  to  avoid  the  Bay  of  Biscay.  With  our  deep 
draught  we  roll  along  like  an  old-time  ship,  our  fore- 

^  Captain  and  chief  purser  respectively  of  the  Aquitania. 

20  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

sail  bellying  to  the  breeze.  The  Boy  Scouts  are  sick 
— frankly  so,  though  Marr  has  been  working  in  the 
stokehold  until  he  really  had  to  give  in.  Various 
messages  came  through.  To-day  it  has  been  misty 
and  cloudy,  little  sun.  All  were  tired  to-night  when 
watches  were  set. 

Monday,  26th.    47°  53'  N.,  9°  00'  W. 

A  mixture  of  sunshine  and  mist,  wind  and  calm. 
Passed  two  steamers  homeward  bound,  and  one  sail- 
ing ship  was  overhauling  us  in  the  afternoon,  but  the 
breeze  fell  light,  and  she  dropped  astern  in  the  mist 
that  came  up  from  the  eastward.  Truly  it  is  good  to 
feel  we  are  starting  well,  and  all  hands  are  happy, 
though  the  ship  is  crowded. 

Two  hands  have  to  help  the  cook,  and  the  little 
food  hatchway  is  a  blessing,  for  otherwise  it  is  a  long 
way  round.  Green  is  in  his  element,  though  our  decks 
are  awash  amidship.  He  just  dips  up  the  water  for 
washing  his  vegetables. 

With  a  view  to  economy  he  boiled  the  cabbage  in 
salt  water.    The  result  was  not  successful. 

The  Quest  rolls,  and  we  find  her  various  points 
and  angles,  but  she  grows  larger  to  us  each  day  as  we 
grow  more  used  to  her.  I  asked  Green  this  morning 
what  was  for  breakfast.  "  Bacon  and  eggs,"  he 
replied.  "  What  sort  of  eggs.^  "  "  Scrambled  eggs. 
If  I  did  not  scramble  them  they  would  have  scrambled 
themselves " — a  sidelight  on  the  liveliness  of  the 
Quest.  Query,  our  wolf-hound  puppy,  is  fast  becom- 
ing a  regular  ship's  dog,  but  has  a  habit  of  getting 
into  my  bunk  after  getting  wet. 

We    are   running   the   lights    from   the    dynamo, 


Photo:  Sport  Ss^  Genet al 


Flioto:   Topical 

Photo:  Sj>ort  <5r»  General 
THE    QUEST   PASSING    THE    TOWER    OF    LONDON    ON    HER    WAY    TO   THE    SEA 

Photo:  Dr,  MackUn 


London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  21 

and,  when  the  wireless  is  working,  sparks  fly  up  and 
down  the  backstays  like  fireflies.  A  calm  night 
is  ours. 

Tuesday,  lyth — Wednesday,  2%th. 

43°  52'  N.,  11°  51'  W.     135  miles. 

Another  fine  day.  Not  much  to  record.  All  hands 
engaged  in  general  work  on  the  ship.  In  the  after- 
noon the  mist  arose  and  the  wind  dropped.  At  night 
the  wind  headed  us  a  bit,  and  we  took  in  the  topsail. 
Marr  was  at  the  wheel  in  the  first  watch,  and  did  well. 
Mooney,  at  present,  is  useless.  A  gang  of  the  boys 
were  employed  turning  the  coal  into  the  after-bunkers 
— a  black  and  dusty  job;  but  they  were  quite  happy. 
We  passed  a  peaceful  night.  This  morning  the  wind 
practically  dropped.  What  little  there  was  came  out 
ahead,  so  we  took  in  all  sail.  The  Quest  does  not 
steam  very  fast,  5^  being  our  best  so  far.  This  rather 
makes  me  think,  and  may  lead  to  alterations  in  our 
plans,  for  we  must  make  our  time  right  for  entering 
the  ice  at  the  end  of  December,  and  may  possibly  have 
to  curtail  some  of  our  island  work  or  postpone  it  until 
we  come  out  of  the  South.  This  morning  we  are  in 
glorious  sunshine — the  sea  sapphire-blue  and  a  cloud- 
less sky ;  but,  alas !  noon,  in  spite  of  our  pushing, 
gives  us  only  135  miles.  We  have  allowed  a  current 
of  7  miles  N.  12°  W. 

Gerald  Lysaght  is  one  of  our  best  workers,  and 
takes  long  spells  at  the  wheel.  Occasionally  little 
land-birds  fly  on  board,  and  our  kittens  take  an 
interest  in  them,  as  yet  unknowing  their  potential 
value  as  food  or  game  ( ?).  How  far  away  already  we 
seem  from  ordinary  life ! 

22  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

I  stopped  the  wireless  last  night.  It  is  of  no 
importance  to  us  now  in  a  little  world  of  our  own. 

Wednesday,  2%th — Thursday,  September  29//?,  192 1. 
Lat,  42°  9'  N.     Long.,  13°  10'  W.    Dist.,  116'. 

A  strong  wind,  with  high  seas  and  S.S.W.  swell; 
strong  squalls  were  our  portion.  The  ship  is  more 
than  lively  and  makes  but  little  way.  She  evidently 
must  be  treated  as  a  five-knot  vessel  dependent 
mainly  on  fair  winds,  and  all  this  is  giving  me  much 
food  for  thought,  for  I  am  tied  to  time  for  the  ice.  I 
was  relieved  that  she  made  fairly  good  weather  of  it, 
but  I  can  see  that  our  decks  must  be  absolutely  clear 
when  we  are  in  the  Roaring  Forties.  Her  foremast 
also  gives  me  anxiety.  She  is  not  well  stayed,  and  I 
think  that  the  topsail  yard  is  a  bit  too  much.  The 
main  thing  is  that  I  may  have  to  curtail  our  island 
programme  in  order  to  get  to  the  Cape  in  time. 
Everyone  is  cheerful,  which  is  a  blessing,  all  singing 
and  enjoying  themselves,  though  pretty  well  wet; 
several  are  a  bit  sick.  The  only  one  who  has  not 
bucked  up  is  the  Scout  Mooney.  He  seems  helpless, 
but  I  will  give  him  every  chance.  I  can  see  also  that 
we  must  be  cut  down  in  crew  to  the  absolutely  efficient 
and  only  needful  for  the  southern  voyage. 

Douglas  is  now  stoking  and  doing  well.  It  will, 
of  course,  take  time  to  square  things  up  and  for  every- 
one to  find  themselves ;  she  is  so  small.  It  is  only  by 
constant  thought  and  care  that  the  leader  can  lead. 
There  is  a  delightful  sense  of  freedom  from  responsi- 
bility in  all  others;  and  it  should  be  so.  These  are 
just  random  thoughts,  but  borne  in  on  one  as  all 
being  so  different  from  the  long  strain  of  preparation. 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  23 

It  is  a  blessing  that  this  time  I  have  not  the  financial 
worry  or  strain  to  add  to  the  care  of  the  active  expe- 
dition. Lysaght  is  doing  very  well,  and  so  is  the 
Scout  Marr. 

Sir  Ernest  Shackleton's  diary  ends  at  this  point,  and 
there  are  no  other  entries  till  January  ist,  1922. 

We  now  began  to  settle  down  to  our  new  conditions 
of  life. 

In  the  deck-house  were  five  small  cabins.  The  Boss 
and  I  had  the  two  after  ones,  but  at  this  time  Mr. 
Lysaght,  or  the  "  General  "  as  he  was  called  by  all  of 
us  (like  most  nicknames,  for  no  particular  reason),  occu- 
pied one  of  them,  whilst  the  Boss  and  I  shared  the  other. 

Worsley  and  Jeffrey  had  a  cabin  running  the  full 
breadth  of  the  house  and  the  roomiest  in  the  ship,  but 
it  had  also  to  act  as  chart-room.  Macklin  and  Hussey 
occupied  a  tiny  room  of  six  feet  cubed  on  the  starboard 
side,  which  contained  the  medicine  cupboard.  Here,  in 
spite  of  restricted  space,  they  dwelt  in  perfect  harmony, 
due,  as  they  were  wont  to  say,  "  to  both  of  us  being  non- 
smokers."  They  were  known  collectively  as  "  Alphonse 
and  D'Aubrey,"  but  how  the  names  originated  it  is 
impossible  to  say,  for  though  the  versatile  Londoner 
might  at  times  have  passed  as  a  Frenchman,  the  same 
could  not  be  said  for  the  more  phlegmatic  Scot. 

The  corresponding  room  on  the  port  side  housed  the 
meteorological  instruments  and  the  gyroscopic  compass. 

Wilkins  and  Bee  Mason  had  bunks  in  the  converted 
forecastle,  which  contained  the  photographic  dark  room, 
a  work  bench  for  the  naturalist,  and  numerous  cupboards 
for  the  storing  of  specimens.  Wilkins,  an  old  cam- 
paigner,  had   used   much   foresight   and   ingenuity   in 

24  Shackleton^s  Last  Voyage 

fitting  it  up,  and  had  utilized  the  limited  space  to  the 
utmost  advantage.  Their  cabin  was  indeed  a  dim  recess 
and  at  first  proved  very  stuffy,  but  before  we  were  many 
days  out  Wilkins  had  designed  and  fitted  an  air-shoot, 
which  acted  very  well  and  enormously  improved  the 
ventilation.  Green,  the  cook,  had  a  cabin  beside  his 
galley,  which  was  always  warm  from  the  heat  of  the 
engine-room — too  much  so  to  be  comfortable  in  temper- 
ate climes,  but  he  looked  forward  to  the  advantage  he 
would  derive  when  we  entered  the  cold  regions.  All  the 
others  lived  aft  and  occupied  bunks  which  were  situated 
round  the  mess-room  and  opened  directly  into  it,  un- 
screened except  by  small  green  curtains,  which  could  be 
drawn  across  when  the  bunks  were  unoccupied.  It  was 
by  no  means  a  pleasant  or  convenient  arrangement,  but, 
with  the  small  size  of  the  ship  and  general  lack  of  space, 
the  only  one  possible  under  the  circumstances.  The 
mess-room  itself  was  small,  boasting  the  simplest  of 
furniture  :  two  plain  deal  tables,  four  forms,  a  cupboard 
for  crockery,  and  a  small  sideboard.  At  the  foot  of  the 
companion-way  was  a  rack  of  ten  long  Service  rifles. 
Two  of  the  forms  were  made  like  boxes  with  lids,  to  act 
as  lockers. 

The  seating  accommodation  just  admitted  all  hands 
to  sit  together,  not  counting  the  cook  and  the  cook's 
mate  and  four  men  who  were  always  on  watch.  They 
sat  down  to  a  second  sitting.  The  food  was  of  good 
quality,  plain,  and  simply  cooked.  Three  meals  a  day 
were  served  :  breakfast,  lunch,  and  supper.  The  Boss 
presided,  and  under  his  cheery  example  the  new  hands 
soon  learned  to  make  light  of  the  strange  and  rather 
uncomfortable  conditions. 

Every  day  for  breakfast  we  had  Quaker  oats,  with 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  25 

brown  sugar  or  syrup  (salt  for  the  Scotsmen)  and  milk, 
followed  by  bacon,  with  eggs  (as  long  as  they  lasted), 
afterwards  sausage  or  some  equivalent,  bread  or  ship's 
biscuit,  marmalade,  and  tea  or  coffee. 

For  lunch  we  usually  had  a  hot  soup,  followed  by 
cold  meat,  corned  beef,  tongue  or  tinned  fish,  and  bread 
or  biscuit,  cheese,  jam  and  tea. 

Supper  consisted  of  a  hot  meat  dish,  with  vegetables, 
followed  by  some  sort  of  pudding,  bread  or  biscuit,  and 

The  galley  was  small,  and  contained  a  diminutive 
range  and  a  number  of  shelves  fitted  with  battens  to 
prevent  things  flying  off  with  the  roll  of  the  ship.  The 
oven  accommodation  was  small,  and  admitted  of  the 
cooking  of  one  thing  only  at  a  time.  Here  Green 
reigned  over  his  pots  and  pans,  which,  owing  to  the 
motion  of  the  ship,  proved  more  often  than  not  to  be 
elusive  and  refractory. 

At  meal-times  the  dishes  were  passed  through  a  large 
window  port  into  the  messroom  by  the  cook's  mate,  and 
received  by  the  "  Peggy  "  for  the  day,  who  served  the 
food  and  waited  at  table.  Duty  as  "  Peggy  "  was  per- 
formed by  each  man  in  turn  (with  the  exception  of  the 
watch-keeping  officers),  who  also  washed  the  dishes, 
cleaned  the  tables,  and  generally  tidied  up  after  each 
meal.  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  had  made  it  plain  to  all 
hands  that  no  work  was  to  be  considered  too  humble  for 
any  member  of  the  expedition. 

Table-cloths  were  never  used,  but  the  tables  were 
well  scrubbed  daily,  so  that  they  soon  took  on  a  fine 
whiteness.  Fiddles  were  a  permanent  fitting  except 
when  we  were  in  port,  for  the  Quest  never  permitted  us 
to  do  without  them  at  sea,  whilst  in  the  worst  weather 

26  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

even  they  proved  useless  to  prevent  table  crockery  from 
being  thrown  about. 

In  addition  to  Query  there  were  on  the  ship  two 
other  pets  in  the  form  of  small  black  kittens,  one  pre- 
sented to  us  as  a  mascot  by  the  Daily  Mail,  the  other,  I 
believe,  the  gift  of  a  girl  to  one  of  the  crew.  They 
suffered  a  little  at  first  from  sea-sickness,  but  soon 
developed  the  most  voracious  appetites,  and  showed  the 
greatest  persistence  in  coming  about  the  table  for  food. 
They  clambered  up  one's  legs  with  long  sharp  claws, 
"  miaowed,"  and  at  every  opportunity  put  their  noses 
into  jugs  and  plates.  No  amount  of  rebuffs  had  any 
effect  upon  them,  and  they  had  a  curious  preference  for 
food  on  the  table  to  that  which  was  placed  for  them  in 
their  own  dishes.  Two  more  importunate  kittens  I  have 
never  seen.  It  is  to  be  feared  that  one  or  two  of  the 
party  slyly  encouraged  them,  for  we  could  never  cure 
them  of  their  bad  habits. 

The  companion  steps  leading  from  the  scuttle  to  the 
messroom  were  very  steep,  and  at  this  time  Query  had 
not  learned  the  art  of  going  up  and  down,  though  he 
acquired  it  later.  It  used  to  be  a  common  sight  to  see 
his  handsome  head  framed  in  the  opening  of  the  window 
port  through  which  Green  passed  the  food,  gazing  wist- 
fully at  the  dainty  morsels  which  were  being  transferred 
to  other  mouths. 

These  first  days  with  the  Boss  were  very  cheery 
ones,  and  I  like  to  look  back  on  them.  There  was  little 
refinement  on  the  ship  and  more  than  ordinary  dis- 
comfort, yet  each  meal-time  was  a  happy  gathering  of 
cheery  souls,  and  conversation  crackled  with  jokes,  in 
the  perpetration  of  which  Hussey  was  by  no  means  the 
least  guilty.    The  strain  of  preparation  had  been  a  heavy 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  27 

one,  and  Sir  Ernest  seemed  to  be  enjoying  the  quiet, 
the  freedom  and  the  mental  peace  of  our  small  self- 
contained  little  world.  I  think  he  liked  to  find  himself 
surrounded  by  his  own  men,  and  he  was  always  at  his 
best  when  he  had  a  definite  objective  to  go  for. 

There  is  something  about  life  at  sea,  and  the  com- 
panionship of  men  who  have  lived  untrammelled  lives 
free  from  the  restraints  of  convention,  that  I  find  hard 
to  describe.  I  think  it  must  be  that  it  is  more  primitive. 
Certainly,  one  drops  into  it  with  a  contentment  that 
contrasts  strongly  with  the  feeling  of  effort  with  which 
one  braces  oneself  to  meet  the  more  conventional 
circumstances  of  the  return  to  civilized  life.  It  is,  I 
suppose,  a  matter  of  heredity  and  transmitted  instinct 
which  makes  falling  back  to  the  primitive  more  easy 
than  progress,  meaning  by  "  progress  "  the  advance  of 
artificiality  and  the  tremendous  speeding  up  of  modern 
existence.  Some  such  instinct  must  be  present,  for  what 
else  is  there  to  tempt  one  from  a  cosy  fireside  and  the 
morning  paper? 

We  kept  three  watches,  the  watch-keeping  officers 
being  Worsley,  Jeffrey  and  myself.  The  Boss  kept  no 
particular  watch,  but  was  always  at  hand  to  give  instruc- 
tions and  take  charge  on  special  occasions.  In  my 
watch  were  Mcllroy,  Macklin  and  Hussey ;  in  Worsley's, 
Wilkins,  Douglas  and  Watts;  in  Jeffrey's,  Carr,  Eriksen 
and  Bee  Mason.  Dell  and  McLeod  acted  as  stokers. 
The  two  Scouts  were  at  first  employed  in  a  generally 
useful  capacity,  helping  the  cook  and  lending  a  hand 
wherever  required.  In  addition  to  his  deck  duties,  each 
man  had  his  own  particular  job  to  attend  to.  Before 
we  had  been  out  many  days  it  became  clear  to  all  that 
in  this  trip  we  were  to  have  no  picnic,  and  that  in  life 

28  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

on  the  Quest  we  would  have  to  adapt  ourselves  to  all 
sorts  of  discomforts  and  inconveniences.  However,  we 
were  committed  to  our  enterprise,  our  work  lay  before 
us,  and  we  settled  down  cheerfully  to  make  the  best  of 

A  few  extracts  from  the  official  diary  will  give  an 
indication  of  conditions  about  this  time. 

Tuesday,  September  2jth, 

The  wind  came  round  to  S.E.  and  freshened  up 
during  the  day.  The  Quest  is  behaving  badly  in  the 
short  head  seas.  We  have  had  to  take  in  sail  and  are 
proceeding  under  steam,  making  poor  progress.  Bee 
Mason  and  Mooney  are  rather  off  colour. 

September  28/^. 

The  wind  has  increased,  with  heavier  seas. 
During  the  day  the  engines  were  stopped  for  adjust- 
ment. Kerr  says  the  crank  shaft  is  out  of  alignment, 
and  expects  further  trouble.  This  happening  so  early 
in  the  voyage  does  not  promise  well  for  the  trip,  for, 
as  the  Boss  says,  we  are  already  late  and  cannot  afford 
much  time  in  port. 

September  2,0th. 

A  moderate  gale  blowing  from  the  S.W.  We 
made  no  headway  into  it,  and  the  Boss  decided  to 
heave  to  with  the  engines  at  slow  speed.  This  has 
given  us  an  idea  of  the  Quest's  behaviour  in  bad 
weather.  The  Boss  is  pleased  with  her  sea-going 
qualities,  for  in  spite  of  fairly  heavy  seas  she  has 
remained  dry,  taking  aboard  very  little  water.'     She 

^  The  papers  at  the  time  made  much  of  this  gale.  It  was,  however,  little 
more  than  a  strong  blow  and  a  zephyr  compared  with  what  we  were  to 
experience  before  our  return  to  these  same  latitudes  on  our  homeward  run. 

By  courtesy  of  Mr.  John  Lister 


;  1')-.   iUackiin 

THE    TOW    NET    IN    LSE 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  29 

has  a  lively  and  very  unpleasant  motion,  which  has 
induced  qualms  of  sea-sickness  in  many  of  the  "  land 
lubbers."  Bee  Mason  and  young  Mooney  are  hors 
de  combat.  They  are  both  plucky.  The  Scout  makes 
no  complaint,  but  it  is  obvious  that  life  to  him  just 
now  is  a  terrible  misery.  He  has  tried  hard  to  carry 
on  his  work.  We  wish  we  could  do  something  for 
him,  but  there  is  little  comfort  on  the  ship. 

October  2nd. 

Head  winds  have  continued  to  blow,  against  which 
we  have  made  little  headway.  The  engines  have 
developed  a  nasty  knock  which  is  appreciable  to  all 
on  the  ship.  Kerr  insists  that  an  overhaul  is  neces- 
sary, and  Sir  Ernest  has  decided  to  make  for  Lisbon. 
We  accordingly  headed  up  for  "  The  Burlings,"  and 
picked  up  the  light  about  6  p.m. 

On  October  3rd  Kerr  had  to  reduce  the  pressure 
of  steam  in  the  cylinders,  as  we  were  now  proceeding 
slowly  along  the  coast  of  Portugal  in  the  direction  of 
Cape  Roca.  The  coast-line  is  very  picturesque,  dotted 
all  along  with  old  castles  and  pretty  little  windmills. 
We  plugged  slowly  on,  passed  by  many  steamers  which 
signalled  us  "A  pleasant  voyage,"  to  which  we  were  kept 
busy  answering  "  Thank  you."  One  of  the  beautiful 
modern  P.  &  O.  liners,  coming  rapidly  up  from  behind, 
altered  course  to  pass  close  to  us,  and  we  could  not  help 
envying  her  speed  and  comfort  as,  making  nothing  of 
the  short  steep  seas  in  which  we  were  rolling  and  pitch- 
ing in  the  liveliest  manner,  she  rapidly  drew  out  of  sight 

Just  before  nightfall  we  reached  Cascaes,  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Tagus,  where  the  pilot  came  aboard,  but 

30  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

decided  not  to  proceed  till  daybreak.  We  lay  at  anchor 
for  some  hours,  and  I  rarely  remember  a  more  uncom- 
fortable period  than  we  spent  here,  jerking  at  the  cable 
with  a  short  steep  roll  that  made  one  positively  giddy. 
It  was  more  than  the  Portuguese  pilot  could  stand,  for 
he  moved  us  farther  up  the  river  into  shelter,  enabling 
us  to  get  the  first  comfortable  sleep  since  leaving  the 
Scilly  Islands. 

We  were  taken  by  tug  up  the  fast-running  Tagus  to 
Lisbon  in  the  early  morning,  and  later  the  Quest  went 
into  dock. 

The  work  was  entrusted  to  Messrs.  Rawes  &  Co., 
and  put  in  hand  without  delay.  The  source  of  all  the 
trouble  in  the  engine-room  proved  to  be  the  crank  shaft, 
which  was  out  of  alignment,  and  thus  caused  the  bear- 
ings to  run  hot.  The  high-pressure  connecting  rod  was 
found  to  be  badly  bent.  The  rigging  also  was  altered 
and  reset  up. 

We  did  not  get  away  from  Lisbon  until  Tuesday, 
October  nth. 

Those  whose  work  did  not  confine  them  to  the  ship 
made  the  most  of  their  time  ashore,  the  first  move  being 
to  a  hotel  for  the  luxury  of  a  hot  bath  and  a  well-cooked 
dinner.  We  were  warmly  entertained  by  the  British 
residents,  who  during  the  whole  of  our  stay  showed  us 
the  greatest  kindness  and  hospitality.  Mooney  was 
carried  off  by  the  Boy  Scouts  of  Lisbon,  who  showed  him 
the  sights  of  the  place.  Marr,  although  an  enthusiastic 
supporter  of  the  Boy  Scout  movement,  did  not  care  to 
spend  his  whole  time  as  a  "  kilted  spectacle  for  curious 
Latins,"  and,  doffing  his  uniform,  accompanied  the 
others  in  their  movements.  Amongst  other  things,  we 
paid  a  visit  en  masse  to  a  bull-fight,  which  we  found  to 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  31 

be  a  much  more  humane  undertaking  than  those  carried 
out  under  the  old  Spanish  system.  The  bull  is  not 
killed  and,  though  goaded  by  the  darts  of  the  picadors 
to  a  fury,  does  not  seem  to  be  subjected  to  great  ill-treat- 
ment. The  horses,  instead  of  being  old  screws  meant  to 
be  gored,  are  beautiful  animals,  which  the  matadors  take 
the  greatest  care  to  protect. 

We  had  many  visitors  on  board  the  ship,  including 
the  British  and  American  Ministers,  who  were  shown 
round  by  Sir  Ernest.  All,  as  in  London,  expressed  their 
amazement  at  the  size  of  the  Quest,  imagining  her  to  be 
far  too  small  for  the  undertaking. 

We  set  out  on  October  nth  for  Madeira,  having 
expended  seven  days  of  precious  time. 

On  leaving  the  Tagus  we  again  encountered  strong 
head  winds,  which  lasted  four  days,  during  which  the 
Quest's  movements  were  such  as  to  upset  the  strongest 
stomachs.  Bee  Mason  and  Mooney  were  once  more 
hors  de  combat,  and  few  except  the  hardened  seamen 
amongst  us  escaped  feeling  ill,  though  they  managed  to 
carry  on  their  work. 

I  think  there  must  be  very  few  people  in  these  days 
of  luxurious  floating  palaces  that  ever  really  have  to 
endure  the  agonies  of  sea-sickness.  If  they  do  feel  ill 
they  can  retire  to  their  bunks,  where  attentive  stewards 
minister  to  their  wants.  Few,  however,  have  been  in 
such  a  condition  that  they  dared  not  take  to  their  bunks, 
but  have  spent  days  and  nights  on  deck,  sleepless, 
sodden  and  cold,  in  a  vigil  of  misery  unbroken  save  to 
turn  to  when  "  eight  bells  "  announces  the  watch,  and 
struggle  through  the  work  until  the  striking  of  the  bells 
again  announces  relief,  unable  to  taste  or  bear  the 
thought  of  food,  and  with  a  stomach  persistently  and 

32  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

painfully  rebellious  in  spite  of  an  aching  void.  Such  is 
the  fate  of  those  who  go  to  sea  in  small  vessels,  without 
stewards  and  without  comforts,  and  where  there  is  work 
to  be  done.  I  have  nothing  but  admiration  for  the  way 
some  of  the  sea-sick  men  were  sticking  to  their  jobs. 
Among  them  was  Marr,  the  Boy  Scout,  who  showed 
the  greatest  hardihood  and  pluck. 

Winds  continued  to  blow  from  ahead  till,  on 
October  15th,  the  weather  changed  and  we  had  a  beauti- 
ful clear  day,  with  little  wind  or  sea  and  bright  sunshine. 
Mooney  and  Bee  Mason  continued  to  suffer  from  sea- 
sickness all  the  way,  the  latter  becoming  quite  ill  with 
a  high  temperature.  As  the  conditions  we  had  met  were 
likely  to  prove  mild  as  compared  with  those  we  would 
encounter  in  the  stormy  southern  seas,  Sir  Ernest 
Shackleton  decided  to  send  both  of  them  home  from 
Madeira.  Let  it  be  said  here  that  it  is  probable  that, 
if  they  had  had  their  own  way,  each  of  them  would 
have  elected  to  continue  with  us,  and  this  decision 
to  send  them  back  carries  with  it  absolutely  no  stigma, 
for  they  showed  extraordinary  pluck  and  bore  their  trials 
uncomplainingly.  To  Mooney  especially,  a  young  boy 
gently  nurtured,  who  had  never  before  left  his  Orkney 
home,  this  portion  of  the  trip  must  have  meant  untold 
misery.  We  greatly  regretted  losing  both  these  com- 

On  leaving  Lisbon  the  Boss  had  put  the  other  Scout, 
Marr,  to  work  in  the  bunkers,  where  he  went  through  a 
gruelling  test.  He  came  out  of  the  trial  very  well,  show- 
ing an  amount  of  hardihood  and  endurance  that  was 
remarkable.  He  suffered  from  sea-sickness,  but  never 
failed  to  carry  out  his  allotted  task,  and  thoroughly 
earned  his  right  to  continue  as  a  permanent  member 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  33 

of  the  expedition.     I  find  in  his  diary  the  following 
entry : 

I  volunteered  to  go  down  the  stokehold,  and  my 
first  duty  was  that  of  trimming  coal.  It  is  a  delightful 
occupation.  It  consists  of  going  down  to  the  bunkers 
and  shovelling  coal  to  within  easy  reach  of  the  fire- 
men. The  bunkers  are  pitch  black,  and  the  air — 
well,  there  is  no  air,  but  coal  dust.  This  gets  into  one's 
ears,  eyes,  nose,  mouth  and  lungs;  one  breathes  coal 
dust.  After  I  had  trimmed  sufficient  coal,  I  com- 
menced stoking.  I  got  on  fairly  well  for  a  first 
attempt,  but  did  not  like  the  heat. 

Another  entry  which  this  boy  made  during  the  bad 
weather  shows  what  he  must  have  gone  through,  though 
nothing  which  he  said  at  the  time  would  have  led  one 
to  suspect  it : 

Indeed,  I  was  feeling  more  dead  than  alive  .  .  . 
what  with  the  rolling  of  the  ship  and  the  unsteady 
nature  of  my  limbs — I  was  sea-sick,  and  I  was  much 
afraid  I  should  fall  into  the  fire  or  down  the  bilges. 
When  I  came  off  (my  watch)  I  immediately  made  for 
my  bunk,  where  I  remained,  without  partaking  of  my 
breakfast  or  dinner,  until  12.0  noon,  when  I  got  up 
again  for  my  next  watch.  ... 

Before  leaving  England  the  Boss  had  ordered  a 
brass  plate  to  be  made,  on  which  was  inscribed 
two  verses  of  Kipling's  immortal  "If?"  and  had  it 
placed  in  front  of  the  bridge.  Hussey,  after  a  heavy 
day's  coaling  in  bad  weather,  was  inspired  to  a  version 
specially  applicable  to  the  Quest,  which  reads  as 

34  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

If  you  can  stand  the  Quest  and  all  her  antics, 

If  you  can  go  without  a  drink  for  weeks, 

If  you  can  smile  a  smile  and  say,  "  How  topping !  " 

When  someone  splashes  paint   across  your  "breeks"; 

If  you  can  work  like  Wild  and  then,  like  "  Wuzzles," 
Spend  a  convivial  night  with  some  "old  bean," 
And  then  come  down  and  meet  the  Boss  at  breakfast 
And  never  breathe  a  word  of  where  you've  been; 

If  you  can  keep  your  feet  when  all  about  you 
Are  turning  somersaults  upon  the  deck, 
And  then  go  up  aloft  when  no  one  told  you. 
And  not  fall  down  and  break  your  blooming  neck ; 

If  you  can  fill  the  port  and  starboard  bunkers 
With  fourteen  tons  of  coal  and  call  it  fun. 
Yours  is  the  ship  and  everything  that's  on  it, 
Coz  you're  a  marvel,  not  a  man,  old  son.   .  .  . 

We  arrived  at  Madeira  on  the  i6th.  Kerr  had  again 
a  number  of  adjustments  to  make  in  the  engine-room, 
and,  with  Smith,  toiled  hard  all  the  time  we  were  in 

Madeira  has  been  a  favourite  stopping  place  for  all 
expeditions  to  the  Antarctic.  Here  on  October  4th, 
1822,  Weddell  was  received  and  assisted  by  Mr.  John 
Blandy,  whose  firm  has  rendered  help  to  many  sub- 
sequent expeditions.  On  this  occasion  we  were  wel- 
comed by  the  present  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Blandy  and  visited 
their  beautiful  estate  on  the  hill. 

We  left  after  a  two  days'  stay.  "  The  General  "  was 
due  to  return  from  here,  but  he  had  made  himself  so 
universally  popular  that  Sir  Ernest  persuaded  him  to 
go  on  as  far  as  the  Cape  Verde  Islands.  Neither  our 
discomforts  nor  the  vagaries  of  the  Quest  had  upset  him 
in  the  slightest,  and  he  had  proved  himself  a  useful 
member  of  the  crew,  taking  a  trick  at  the  wheel  and 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  35 

carrying  on  the  work  on  deck  generally.  We  now 
entered  fine  weather,  and,  running  comfortably  before 
the  north-easterly  trade  winds,  reached  St.  Vincent 
on  October  28th.  The  engines  had  continued  to  give 
trouble,  and  Kerr  reported  that  extensive  repairs  and 
readjustments  would  be  necessary  before  continuing 
farther.  They  were  carried  out  quickly  and  effectively 
by  Messrs.  Wilson,  Sons  &  Co.,  who  acted  as  our  agents, 
and  most  generously  supplied  us  on  leaving  with  one 
hundred  tons  of  coal  free  of  all  charge. 

We  said  good-bye  to  "  General  "  Lysaght,  whom  we 
saw  depart  with  genuine  regret.  We  had  a  farewell 
dinner,  at  which  was  produced  all  the  best  the 
Quest  could  offer,  and  when  the  Boss  proposed  "  The 
General !  "  we  drank  his  health  and  wished  him  luck. 
Although  he  was  returning  to  home  and  comforts,  he 
would,  I  believe,  had  it  been  possible,  have  accompanied 
us  farther  on  our  way.  At  the  conclusion  he  was 
presented  with  an  illuminated  card,  the  combined  work 
of  all  the  artists  aboard,  but  chiefly,  I  think,  of  Wilkins, 
which  bore  the  following  poem  composed  by  the  Boss  : 

To  Gerald  Lysaght,  A.B. 

After  these  happy  days,  spent  in  the  oceanways, 

Homeward  you  turn  ! 
Ere  our  last  rope  slipped  the  quay  and  we  made  for  the  open  sea 

You  became  one  of  us. 
You  have  seen  the  force  oi  the  gale  fierce  as  a  thresher's  flail 

Beat  the  sea  white; 
You  have  watched  our  reeling  spars  sweep  past  the  steady  stars 

In  the  storm-wracked  night. 
You  saw  great  liners  turn ;  high  bows  that  seemed  to  churn 

The  swell  we  wallowed  in ; 
They  veered  from  their  ordered  ways,  from  the  need  of  their  time 
kept  days, 

To  speed  us  on. 

36  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Did  envy  possess  your  soul ;  that  they  were  sure  of  their  goal 

Never  a  damn  cared  you, 
For  you  are  one  with  the  sea — in  its  joy  and  misery 

You  follow  its  lure. 
In  the  peace  of  Chapel  Cleeve,  surely  you  must  believe, 

Though  far  off  from  us. 
That  wherever  the  Quest  may  go ;  what  winds  blow  high  or  low — 

Zephyrs  or  icy  gale  : 
Safe  in  our  hearts  you  stand ;  one  with  our  little  band. 

A  seaman,  Gerald,  are  you  !  — E.  H.  S. 

On  the  28th  we  set  out,  making  course  for  St.  Paul's 
Rocks.  We  enjoyed  excellent  weather,  with  smooth  seas 
on  which  the  sun  sparkled  in  a  myriad  of  variegated 
points.  We  felt  the  heat  considerably,  which  is  natural, 
considering  the  confined  space  and  general  lack  of 
artificial  means  of  keeping  cool,  such  as  effective  fans, 
refrigerators  and  iced  water.  Most  of  us  slept  on  deck, 
under  the  stars  which  twinkled  above  us,  large  and 
luminous,  in  the  tropic  nights. 

The  Boss  took  Marr  out  of  the  stokehold  about  this 
time  and  placed  him  to  assist  Green  as  cook's  mate,  a 
not  very  romantic  job,  but  one  which  he  carried  out  with 
his  usual  thoroughness.  He  had  by  now  thoroughly 
found  his  feet,  and  took  a  deep  interest  in  the  sea  life 
of  the  tropics  :  flying  fish  fleeing  in  shoals  before  the 
graceful  bonito,  which,  leaping  in  the  air  to  descend 
with  scarcely  a  splash,  followed  in  relentless  pursuit; 
dolphins,  albacore  and  the  sinister  fins  of  occasional 

On  November  4th  a  large  school  of  porpoises  came 
about  the  ship  and  played  around  our  bows.  Eriksen 
seized  the  opportunity  to  harpoon  one  of  them,  which 
we  hauled  aboard.  Wilkins  found  in  its  stomach  a 
number  of  cuttle-fish  beaks.    The  meat  we  sent  to  the 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  37 

larder.  The  porpoise  is  not  a  fish,  but  a  mammal,  warm 
blooded  and  air  breathing.  It  provides  an  excellent  red 
meat,  against  which  British  sailors  have  for  many  years 
felt  a  strong  prejudice,  but  which  is  eaten  with  relish  by 
Scandinavians.  We  found  it  a  pleasant  change  from 
tinned  food. 

One  day  we  encountered  a  magnificent  five-masted 
barque  becalmed  in  the  doldrums,  all  sail  set  and  flap- 
ping gently  with  the  slight  roll.  She  was  flying  the 
French  ensign,  and  on  closer  approach  proved  to  be  the 
La  France,  of  Rouen.  She  presented  such  a  beautiful 
sight,'  with  her  tall  masts  and  lofty  spars  reflected  in  the 
smooth  sea,  that  we  altered  course  to  pass  close  to  her 
and  enable  Wilkins  to  get  some  photographs.  Sir 
Ernest  spoke  her  captain,  who  replied  in  excellent 
English,  asking  where  we  had  left  the  trade  winds, 
voicing  what  is  the  uppermost  thought  in  the  mind  of 
every  master  of  a  sailing  ship,  the  probability  and  direc- 
tion of  winds,  on  which  depends  their  motive  power. 

We  were  amused  to  notice  that  though  the  Boss  sent 
his  voice  unaided  across  the  water  with  the  greatest  ease, 
the  Frenchman  required  a  megaphone  to  make  audible 
his  replies. 

These  beautiful  vessels  are  fast  being  driven  off  the 
ocean  in  the  competition  with  modern  steamships,  yet 
it  is  with  a  feeling  of  genuine  regret  that  one  sees  them 
go,  for  with  them  departs  much  of  the  romance  of  the 
sea.  The  apprentice  of  to-day  takes  his  training  in 
steamers,  and  the  modern  seaman  is  beginning  to  regard 
sail  as  a  "  relic  of  barbarism."  ^  In  the  days  when  I  first 
went  to  sea  one  might  count  masts  and  yards  by  the 

*  On  our  return  to  England  we  learned  that  this  beautiful  ship  had  become 
a  total  wreck  on  the  Great  Barrier  Reef  of  Australia. 

*  An  expression  of  Jeffrey's. 

38  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

hundred  in  harbours  such  as  Falmouth  or  Queenstown, 
but  now  they  are  to  be  found  only  in  ones  and  twos. 
They  were  fine  ships,  the  old  clipper  ships,  and  bred  a 
fine  type  of  seaman,  yet  "  the  old  order  changeth,"  and 
in  spite  of  an  attempt  to  bring  them  into  general  use 
again,  it  is  to  be  feared  that  they  will  gradually  die  out 

Early  on  the  morning  of  November  8th  we  sighted 
St.  Paul's  Rocks,  standing  solitary  and  alone  in  the 
midst  of  a  wide  tropic  sea.  They  were  the  first  objec- 
tive, and  Sir  Ernest  arranged  for  a  party  to  land  there. 
We  lay  to  under  their  lee  and  dropped  a  boat.  Imme- 
diately a  countless  shoal  of  sharks  came  about  us,  their 
fins  showing  above  water  in  dozens  on  every  side.  A 
considerable  swell  was  running,  making  the  approach 
difficult,  but  we  effected  a  landing  in  a  little  horseshoe- 
shaped  basin  lying  in  the  midst  of  the  rocks.  Wilkins, 
assisted  by  Marr,  took  ashore  camera  and  cinematograph 
apparatus,  and  was  able  to  get  some  excellent  photos 
of  birds, 

Douglas,  assisted  by  Dell,  carried  out  an  accurate 
survey  and  made  a  geological  examination  of  the  rocks. 
Hussey  and  Carr  carried  out  meteorological  work,  taking 
advantage  of  a  fixed  base  to  send  up  a  number  of 
balloons  for  measuring  the  upper  air  currents.  I  had 
charge  of  the  boat,  with  Macklin,  Jeffrey  and  Eriksen 
as  crew. 

We  noticed  that  the  cove  in  which  we  had  made  the 
landing  was  simply  alive  with  marine  life  of  every  kind, 
and  so  returned  to  the  ship  for  fishing  tackle.  For  bait 
we  used  crabs,  which  swarm  in  large  numbers  all  over 
the  rocks.  There  were  two  sorts,  a  large  red  variety  and 
a  smaller  one  dark  green  in  colour.     They  were  evil- 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  39 

looking  things,  and  seemed  always  to  be  watching  us 
intently,  moving  stealthily  sideways,  now  in  this  direc- 
tion, now  in  that.  At  the  least  sign  of  approach  they 
darted  with  amazing  rapidity  into  crevices  in  the  rocks. 
Occasionally  we  saw  them  gather  their  legs  under  them 
and  give  the  most  extraordinary  leaps  of  from  two  to 
three  feet.  Their  jaws  worked  continually  and  water 
sizzled  and  bubbled  at  their  mouths.  Some  of  them  had 
found  flying  fish  which  had  flown  ashore  or  been  brought 
by  the  birds.  It  was  a  horrible  sight — they  tore  the  flesh 
into  fragments  with  their  powerful  claws  and  crammed 
it  into  their  mouths.  The  ownership  was  often  disputed, 
the  bigger  crab  always  winning.  Occasionally  a  small 
crab,  hoping  for  some  of  the  crumbs  which  might  fall 
from  the  rich  man's  table,  would  creep  cautiously  up 
behind.  The  bigger  crab,  however,  permitted  no  depre- 
dations, but,  waiting  till  the  smaller  one  reached  within 
a  certain  limit,  would  kick  out  suddenly  with  an  unoccu- 
pied leg,  causing  the  smaller  one  to  hop  hastily  out  of 

We  spiked  what  we  required  with  a  boat-hook,  and 
they  made  excellent  bait,  for  it  was  necessary  only  to 
lower  the  hook  to  get  an  immediate  bite.  The  landing 
of  the  catch,  however,  proved  not  so  easy.  The  little 
cove  swarmed  with  sharks,  which  were  attracted  by  the 
boat,  and  came  about  us  in  scores.  Looking  down 
through  the  clear  water,  we  could  see  fish  in  plenty 
flitting  hither  and  thither  with  leisurely  whisks  of  their 
tails,  obviously  quite  at  ease  and  not  at  all  perturbed  by 
the  proximity  of  the  marauders.  The  moment,  however, 
we  hooked  one  and  started  to  pull  it  up,  the  sharks 
turned  like  a  streak  and  went  for  it  with  such  voracity 
that  we  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  getting  it  to  the 

40  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

surface.  What  was  worse,  they  frequently  bit  through 
the  lines  and  took  the  hook  also.  Finally,  we  were  com- 
pelled to  reinforce  the  lines  with  wire.  On  one  occasion 
I  succeeded  in  getting  a  fish  clear  of  the  water,  and, 
thinking  that  for  once  I  had  eluded  the  sharks,  was  in 
the  act  of  swinging  it  aboard  when  there  was  a  flash 
of  something  white,  an  ugly  snout  broke  water,  and  I 
was  left  gazing  stupidly  at  half  a  head  which  still 
dangled  from  my  line.  The  shark  had  got  the  rest. 
Indeed,  it  was  not  safe  to  put  a  hand  over  the  gunwale, 
for  immediately  a  head  rose  towards  it. 

We  had  with  us  in  the  boat  a  harpoon  and  trident, 
and  getting  tired  of  losing  our  fish,  waged  war  upon  the 
sharks.    We  harpooned   several,  which  we  killed  and 
threw  back  to  their  brethren,  who  voraciously  set  upon 
them  and  tore  them  to  bits.    While  they  were  thus  dis- 
tracted we  secured  a  number  of  fish.    There  is  something 
sinister  and  evil-looking  about  sharks.     Some  of  them 
grow  to  large  size,  attaining  a  length  of  thirteen  or  four- 
teen feet ;  there  are  records  of  larger  ones  than  that,  the 
largest   I   know  of  being  twenty-five  feet,  but  this  is 
exceptional.     Their  mouths,  which  are  composed  of  a 
curved  slit,  are  situated  on  the  under  surface  of  the  head 
some  distance  from  the  snout.     Their  teeth,  which  are 
sharp  and  set  backwards,  are  not  true  teeth,  but  modified 
scales.     The  eyes  are  small  and  poorly  developed,  but 
they  have  a  phenomenal  sense  of  smell  which  attracts 
them  from  long  distances  to  potential  sources  of  food. 
Macklin  and  Hussey  dissected  the  brain  of  one  of  them, 
which   showed   that   the    olfactory   bulbs — the   portion 
devoted  to  the  sense  of  smell — is  larger  than  all  the  rest 
of  the  brain. 

These  rapacious  beasts  are  the  most  dreaded  and 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  41 

most  generally  hated  of  all  animals  in  the  seas,  and  have 
accounted  for  many  sailors  who  have  fallen  overboard. 
They  are  very  suspicious  of  bait  on  a  line,  but  have  often 
been  caught  and  hauled  on  board.  It  was  at  one  time 
the  custom  on  sailing  ships  to  perpetrate  in  revenge  all 
sorts  of  mutilating  atrocities  upon  them,  such  as  gouging 
out  the  eyes  and  filling  the  sockets  with  gunpowder, 
removing  the  heart  and  entrails,  afterwards  throwing  the 
animal  back  into  the  sea  to  be  torn  to  pieces  by  others 
of  the  species. 

In  addition  to  the  sharks,  we  caught  with  the  trident 
a  number  of  large,  round,  black-coloured  fish  of  a  kind 
commonly  regarded  as  poisonous.  Their  flesh  looked  so 
firm  and  white  and  excellent  that  we  decided  to  try  them. 
When  cooked,  they  proved  to  be  of  good  flavour,  and 
no  one  suffered  from  the  experiment  of  eating  them. 

We  caught  a  number  of  smaller  "  black  fish,"  but 
I  took  them  for  specimens  only,  for  I  have  seen  them 
in  other  waters  and  know  them  as  garbage  eaters  of  the 
worst  kind,  though  it  is  possible  that  those  we  caught 
here,  living  far  from  the  filth  and  sewage  of  towns,  might 
prove  edible  enough.  The  kind,  however,  of  which  we 
obtained  the  greatest  number  were  yellow  and  blue. 

Merely  to  sit  in  the  boat  and  gaze  down  through 
these  pellucid  waters  was  a  pleasure,  for  the  bottom 
showed  clearly,  covered  with  countless  seaweeds,  whilst 
over  it  passed  fish  of  all  sizes  and  of  the  brightest  and 
most  varied  colourings  in  endless  panorama. 

We  enjoyed  the  day  immensely,  providing  as  it  did 
a  pleasant  change  from  the  routine  of  ship's  life. 

The  recall  flag  was  hoisted  by  the  Boss  at  4  p.m., 
when  we  gathered  up  our  lines  and  took  off  the  shore 

42  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Before  finally  leaving  the  rocks  we  encircled  them 
slowly  to  enable  Worsley  to  get  a  series  of  soundings. 
There  is  very  little  shoaling  in  the  approach  to  these 
rocks,  which  rise  sheer  and  straight  from  the  sea  bottom. 
The  soundings  of  the  depth  of  water  round  about 
them,  which  were  verified  and  amplified  by  those  taken 
by  Worsley  on  this  occasion,  show  that  the  "  hundred 
fathom  line  "  is  nowhere  distant  more  than  four  cables 
from  the  rocks,  and  in  places  is  within  nine  hundred  feet. 

As  we  set  off  on  our  course  we  were  surrounded  by  a 
number  of  bonito,  which  followed  us  in  graceful  leaps 
and  dives.  They  can  be  caught  sometimes  from  the  jib- 
boom  by  dangling  a  strong  line,  baited  with  a  piece  of 
white  rag,  in  the  foam  of  the  bow  wave.  When  pulled 
out  of  the  water  they  are  difficult  to  hold  on  account  of 
a  strong  vibration  which  is  set  up  by  rapid  movement  of 
the  tail.  It  is  customary  to  have  a  sack  handy  into  which 
the  fish  is  dropped,  when  it  can  be  safely  passed  on 

For  a  while  after  leaving  St.  Vincent  the  engines  had 
run  smoothly,  but  now  they  started  to  give  more  trouble, 
requiring  the  most  careful  nursing  by  Kerr  and  his  staff. 
The  rigging  also  was  not  proving  satisfactory,  and  the 
scarfed  topmast  yielded  in  a  most  alarming  manner  to 
the  strain  of  the  gaff.  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  began  to 
worry  tremendously  about  her  condition,  and  confided  to 
me  that  he  had  trusted  too  much  to  others  in  the  prepara- 
tion of  the  engine-room.  The  work  had  been  placed  in 
the  hands  of  a  consulting  engineer  in  whom  he  had 
reason  to  feel  that  he  could  place  the  most  implicit 

Sir  Ernest  decided,  however,  before  continuing  the 
southern  part  of  the  expedition,  to  put  into  harbour  at 

London  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  43 

Rio  de  Janeiro  and  make  a  complete  overhaul  of  every 
part  of  the  ship  under  his  own  direct  supervision,  though 
he  was  possessed  of  no  special  engineering  knowledge. 
We  had  intended  calling  first  at  South  Trinidad  Island, 
but,  conditions  becoming  worse,  we  made  direct  for  Rio. 

Before  entering  harbour  we  repainted  the  ship, 
changing  the  white  deck-house  and  superstructure  and 
the  yellow  funnel  to  a  uniform  naval  grey.  This  was 
done  at  the  suggestion  of  Jeffrey,  who  also  entered 
energetically  into  the  carrying  of  it  out,  and  there  is  no 
doubt  that  the  grey  was  a  much  more  serviceable  colour. 
The  ports,  skirtings  and  boats  were  painted  black,  which 
relieved  the  monotony  of  the  grey  and  gave  the  whole  a 
pleasing  effect. 

On  the  night  of  November  21st  we  sighted  the  lights 
of  Rio  de  Janeiro  stretching  in  a  row  along  the  sea  shore. 
It  was  a  lovely  still  night,  and  the  Boss  was  in  good 
spirits.  We  gathered  outside  the  surgeon's  cabin  whilst 
Hussey  strummed  tunes  on  his  banjo.  The  Boss  loved 
these  little  musical  gatherings,  and  though  he  himself 
was  unable  to  produce  a  tune  of  any  sort,  he  liked 
listening  to  music. 

The  next  day  dawned  with  a  wonderful  sunrise 
which  lit  up  the  mountains  round  the  harbour,  tinting 
them  with  crimson,  rose  and  pink.  A  slight  mist  on  the 
surface  of  the  water  was  turned  into  a  wonderful  red 
haze,  through  which  appeared  the  masts  and  spars  of 
sailing  ships  at  anchor.  The  harbour  is  magnificent, 
dividing  with  Sydney  the  claim  to  be  the  finest  in  the 

We  steamed  slowly  in,  past  the  Sugar  Loaf 
Mountain  which  guards  the  entrance  to  the  harbour, 
and  came  to  anchor  opposite  the  town. 



SIR  ERNEST  SHACKLETON  lost  no  time  in 
going  ashore  to  make  arrangements  for  the 
necessary  work,  and  set  it  going  with  the  least 
possible  delay.  Messrs.  Wilson,  Sons  &  Co.  were 
appointed  agents,  and  their  engineer,  Mr.  Howard, 
came  aboard  the  same  day.  In  addition,  a  consulting 
engineer  was  employed  to  make  a  report  on  the  con- 
dition of  the  engines.  The  crank-shaft  was  badly  out 
of  alignment,  and  from  this  had  resulted  all  the  other 
disabilities  which  had  so  continuously  cropped  up 
during  the  voyage.  It  was  considered  also  that  the 
heavy  four-bladed  propeller  was  too  great  a  strain  for 
the  small  engines,  and  that  a  lighter  two-bladed  pro- 
peller, giving  of  a  greater  number  of  revolutions,  would 
prove  more  satisfactory.  The  scarfed  topmast,  which 
had  been  badly  strained,  required  renewing,  for  which 
purpose  it  would  be  necessary  to  take  out  the  foremast. 

It  was  decided  also,  whilst  this  work  was  in  process, 
to  recaulk  and  tar  the  hull. 

On  the  second  day  we  moved  across  the  harbour  to 
Wilson's  Island,  where  the  ship  was  emptied  of  all  stores 
and  equipment,  which  were  placed  for  the  time  being  in 
a  large  covered  lighter.  A  large  floating  crane,  of  which 
we  were  allowed  the  use  by  courtesy  of  the  Brazilian 
Government,  was  placed  alongside,  and  tlie  foremast 
taken  out  and  placed  in  the  sheds.    This  completed,  the 


Rio  to  South  Georgia  45 

ship  was  placed  on  the  slips  and  the  work  proceeded 
rapidly,  the  firm  concentrating  their  resources  to  get  us 
ready  for  sea  in  the  shortest  possible  time.  Mr.  Howard 
worked  unceasingly  on  our  behalf,  and  we  received  at 
all  times  the  greatest  help  from  all  responsible  members 
of  the  firm. 

Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  decided  during  the  early  part 
of  the  voyage  that  the  living  accommodation,  which  had 
been  adequate  for  his  original  scheme,  was  insufficient 
for  a  programme  which  entailed  prolonged  periods 
aboard  ship,  and  planned  an  addition  to  the  deck-house. 
The  existing  structure  was  carried  forward  to  within  a 
few  feet  of  the  foremast  and  the  new  portion  made  two 
feet  broader  on  each  side.  This  meant  enclosing  the 
main  hatch,  but  the  difficulty  was  overcome  by  building 
another  hatch  in  the  roof  of  the  deck-house  and  cutting 
the  coamings  of  the  original  hatch  flush  with  the  deck. 
Although  an  uncomfortable  arrangement  in  many  ways, 
it  had  the  advantage  that  Macklin  could  open  it  up  at 
any  time  he  wished  to  go  below  independent  of  weather 
conditions,  for  under  the  old  arrangement  the  getting 
up  of  stores  was  limited  to  fine  weather,  there  being  no 
other  access  to  the  hold  than  through  the  hatch,  render- 
ing the  work  in  other  conditions  very  dangerous. 

Whilst  this  work  was  in  progress  it  was  impossible  to 
live  aboard,  and  a  number  of  the  British  residents  offered 
to  billet  the  different  members  of  the  expedition  in  their 
houses.  To  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Causer,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lloyd, 
the  Secretary  of  the  British  Club,  and  the  members  of 
the  Leopoldina  Chacara  I  must  take  this  opportunity  of 
offering  my  most  sincere  thanks  for  their  kindness  and 
hospitality.  Thanks  are  due,  not  only  to  these  "  god- 
parents "  (as  we  called  them),  but  to  others  too  numerous 

46  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

to  mention,  from  the  British  Minister  downwards,  from 
all  of  whom  we  received  the  greatest  hospitality  and  who 
took  a  keen  interest  in  our  project. 

In  spite  of  all  the  energy  employed  in  getting  the 
Quest  ready  for  sea,  it  became  apparent  that  it  would 
take  fully  four  weeks  to  complete  the  work.  The  delays 
caused  through  repairs  since  leaving  England  had  now 
amounted  to  six  weeks.  It  would  be  quite  impossible  to 
carry  out  the  programme  and  reach  Cape  Town  in  time 
to  enter  the  ice  this  season.  It  was  this  factor  which 
caused  Sir  Ernest  to  decide  to  abandon,  or  postpone, 
the  first  part  of  the  programme  and  make  direct  for 
South  Georgia.  Unfortunately,  much  of  our  scientific 
apparatus,  stores  and  nearly  all  the  special  winter  equip- 
ment, clothing,  sledges,  etc.,  had  been  sent  to  Cape 
Town,  which  was  to  have  been  our  base  of  operations. 
Sir  Ernest  decided,  however,  that  much  of  the  foodstuff 
necessary  to  make  up  the  deficiencies  could  be  obtained 
locally,  and  hoped  to  get  sledges,  dogs  and  winter  cloth- 
ing at  South  Georgia.  The  German  Deutsckland  expe- 
dition, under  Filchner,  had  been  abandoned  there,  and 
when  we  visited  the  island  in  19 14  we  found  that  the 
whole  of  the  equipment  had  been  carefully  stored  and 
was  in  excellent  condition.  Sir  Ernest  hoped  that  much 
of  this  would  still  be  available.  Previous  to  this,  in  the 
belief  that  we  should  still  be  carrying  on  the  full  pro- 
gramme, the  aeroplane  had  been  sent  on  to  the  Cape  by 
mail  steamer,  and  we  should  therefore  be  compelled  to 
do  without  it  at  the  time  when  it  would  be  of  the  greatest 
value.  At  the  end  of  the  month  most  of  the  essential 
work  had  been  completed,  but  there  was  still  much  that 
required  doing.  Mr.  Howard  was  anxious  that  we  should 
delay  another  week  to  enable  him  to  put  in  the  necessary 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  47 

finishing  touches,  but  already  we  were  late,  and  the  Boss 
decided  that  further  delay  was  impossible. 

The  new  addition  to  the  deck-house,  intended  as  a 
forward  messroom,  was  a  mere  unfinished  shell.  Four 
bunks  were  hastily  and  roughly  knocked  up,  and  we  left 
with  no  other  furniture  than  a  plain  deal  table,  which 
was  built  round  a  central  stanchion,  and  two  benches. 
I  may  say  here  of  the  work  put  in  for  us  at  Rio  by 
Messrs.  Wilson  &  Sons  that  it  was  all  good  and  reliable, 
and  withstood  all  the  usage  to  which  it  was  subjected, 
and  Kerr  never  again  had  any  trouble  with  the  engines 
beyond  minor  adjustments.  Mr.  Howard  had  done  all 
that  was  possible  short  of  building  new  engines,  which 
he  maintained  was  what  we  required,  making  no  secret 
of  his  opinion  that  the  present  ones  were  unsuitable  for 
the  work  to  be  undertaken.  There  was  nothing  for  it, 
however,  but  to  go  forward,  and  Sir  Ernest,  though  fully 
alive  to  the  Quest's  disabilities,  determined  to  do  the 
best  possible  under  the  circumstances.  He  had  that 
peculiar  nature  which  shows  at  its  best  under  difficulties. 
He  was  the  most  undefeated  and  unconquerable  man  I 
have  ever  known.  His  whole  life  had  been  spent  in 
forcing  his  way  against  what  to  most  people  must  have 
seemed  unsurmountable  obstacles.  Yet  he  had  always 
triumphed,  and  I,  who  knew  him,  felt  no  doubt  that  he 
would  carry  this  expedition  through  to  a  successful  con- 
clusion. Yet,  if  the  reader  will  but  cast  his  mind  over 
the  part  of  this  book  which  he  has  read  and  think  of 
how,  since  the  inception  of  the  expedition,  one  difficulty 
after  another  had  risen  to  baulk  the  enterprise,  and  how 
on  board  the  ship  one  thing  after  another  had  gone 
wrong  and  required  repair,  he  will  agree  that  the  Boss 
might  well  have  thrown  in  his  hand  and  retired  from  the 

48  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

unequal  struggle.  But  nothing  could  have  been  more 
foreign  to  his  mind — each  obstacle  but  strengthened  his 
resolve  to  carry  on,  and  we  who  served  with  him  never 
for  one  moment  felt  distrust  or  doubt  that  under  his 
leadership  all  would  go  well. 

Whilst  at  Rio  a  change  was  made  in  the  personnel. 
Eriksen  returned  home,  and  three  new  men  were  taken 
on  :  Young  and  Argles  as  stokers,  and  Naisbitt  as  cook's 

We  left  Wilson's  wharf  on  December  17th,  and  lay 
at  anchor  for  the  night  in  a  small  bay  on  the  Nictheroy 
side,  close  to  the  entrance  to  the  harbour.  In  the  morn- 
ing we  made  a  final  complete  stowage,  lashing  securely 
all  the  loose  articles  on  deck  and  getting  the  ship 
trimmed  ready  for  sea.  Whilst  we  were  engaged  in  this 
an  urgent  message  was  sent  by  motor  boat  for  Dr. 
Macklin  to  go  to  Sir  Ernest,  who  had  slept  ashore  as 
the  guest  of  the  Leopoldina  Chacara,  and  who  had  been 
taken  suddenly  ill.  Macklin  went  off  at  once,  but  on 
arrival  found  him  fully  recovered,  saying  that  he  had 
merely  felt  a  slight  faintness  and  had  really  sent  for  him 
to  know  whether  the  stores  were  complete.  That  this 
attack  had  a  greater  significance  than  was  appreciated 
at  the  time  later  events  showed. 

We  set  off  on  December  i8th.  Sir  Ernest,  who  had 
naturally  worried  a  good  deal  over  the  continual  troubles 
which  cropped  up,  became  once  more  his  old  cheery  self, 
looking  forward  to  a  respite  from  further  alarms  regard- 
ing the  welfare  of  the  ship. 

On  the  day  of  sailing  Jeffrey  suffered  an  injury  to  his 
leg  which  Macklin  pronounced  serious,  and  ordered 
three  weeks'  complete  rest  in  bed,  to  which  Jeffrey,  being 
an  active  man,  none  too  willingly  assented.    As  a  matter 


Photos:  Wilkins 


Rio  to  South  Georgia  49 

of  fact,  as  a  result  of  this  injury  he  was  incapacitated  for 
nearly  six  weeks.    Sir  Ernest  kept  his  watch. 

The  first  few  days  at  sea  were  fine  and  pleasantly 
cool.  The  old  system  of  watches  was  altered,  the  men 
taking  their  turns  at  the  wheel  in  rotation,  following 
alphabetical  order.  For  the  day's  work  they  were  called 
at  7.0  A.M.  and  knocked  off  at  5.0  p.m.  The  messes  were 
divided.  Sir  Ernest,  myself,  Hussey,  Mcllroy,  Worsley, 
Macklin,  Kerr,  Jeffrey,  Carr  and  Douglas  messed  in  the 
new  wardroom  forward,  and  Smith  took  charge  of  the 
after  messroom,  with  Dell,  McLeod,  Marr,  Young, 
Argles  and  Watts.  Green  and  Naisbitt  messed  in  the 

Three  of  the  bunks  in  the  forward  messroom  were 
occupied  by  Mcllroy,  Kerr  and  Carr,  the  fourth  being 
used  as  a  locker  for  their  personal  gear. 

Although  we  had  increased  the  accommodation,  it 
was  still  far  from  being  commodious,  and  the  bare, 
unfinished  condition  of  the  new  quarters  offered  little 
comfort.  "  Roddy  "  Carr  was  appointed  to  make  some 
cupboards  and  shelves,  and  his  work,  though  a  bit  rough 
and  ready,  answered  its  purpose  well,  which  was  the 
main  thing.  Hussey  congratulated  him  on  his  new 
appointment  as  joiner,  calling  him  thereafter  "  Roddy 
Carr-penter,"  which  I  can  assure  my  readers  is  the  least 
of  the  atrocious  puns  which  we  endured  from  him. 
Always  a  cheery  soul,  his  very  presence  was  worth  much 
to  us  on  the  trip,  for  it  is  the  small  jest  which  goes 
farthest  and  still  sparkles  when  the  more  subtle  wit  has 
fallen  flat. 

On  December  22nd  we  saw  our  first  albatross,  a 
fine  "  Wanderer  *'  which  attached  itself  to  the  ship  and 
followed    us    on    our    way    South.      We    saw    also    a 

50  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

"  Portuguese  man-o'-war."  The  two  form  a  combination 
rarely  seen  in  the  same  latitude  (30^  47'  S.). 

The  albatross  has  a  wonderful  flight,  and  our  flying 
experts,  Carr  and  Wilkins,  watched  the  bird  as  it  soared 
and  dipped  and  "  banked "  and  "  stalled "  and  per- 
formed numerous  evolutions,  for  each  of  which  they  had 
a  technical  or  a  slang  expression. 

I  had  the  4.0-8.0  a.m.  watch  on  December  24th, 
during  which  the  wind  blew  up  wet  and  misty  and  came 
ahead.  The  Boss  gave  instructions  to  call  the  hands  to 
take  in  sail.  Whilst  the  square-sail  was  being  taken  in  a 
corner  carrying  a  heavy  block  and  shackle  was  whipped 
across  the  deck,  catching  Carr  a  violent  blow  in  the  face. 
He  was  badly  stunned,  but  picked  himself  up,  with  hand 
to  face,  blood  flowing  freely  from  between  his  fingers. 
When  examined,  it  was  found  that  his  nose  was  broken. 
After  some  trouble  the  surgeons  replaced  the  bones  in 
position,  but  Carr,  standing  in  front  of  a  looking-glass, 
attempted  to  improve  the  work,  with  the  result  that  the 
operation  had  to  be  carried  out  a  second  time,  with 
pertinent  remarks  from  Hussey  as  to  the  effects  upon 
his  personal  appearance  if  further  interfered  with. 

Later  in  the  day  the  mist  cleared  and  the  sun 
came  out.  In  the  evening  we  were  able  to  set  sail 

This  being  Christmas  Eve,  we  sat  after  supper  and 
talked  of  the  various  Christmases  we  had  spent.  Each 
man  pictured  the  Christmas  he  would  like  to  spend 
to-morrow  if  he  got  the  chance.  It  is  funny  how  we 
cling,  in  spite  of  long  years  of  disillusionment,  to  the 
mind-pictures  of  our  childhood,  and  conjure  up  visions 
of  a  snow-covered  countryside,  with  robins,  holly  trees, 
waits,  and  all  the  things  that  go  into  the  Christmas  card 

Photo:  Dr.  Macklin 


Fnoto:  li'iikins 


Rio  to  South  Georgia  51 

We  forget  the  warm,  wet,  miserable  Christmas  days ;  and 
perhaps  it  is  just  as  well. 

Our  position,  situated  as  we  were  in  the  midst  of  a 
waste  of  stormy  waters,  was  not  an  ideal  one,  but  we 
looked  forward  to  celebrating  Christmas  in  a  cheery  way. 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Rowett  had  sent  us  as  a  parting  gift  a  big 
box  of  Christmas  fare,  which  included  such  delicacies 
as  turkeys,  hams,  plum  puddings,  and  muscatels  and 
raisins.  The  evening  was  fine,  and  in  spite  of  sundry 
croakings  from  Hussey,  our  weather  prophet,  we  antici- 
pated a  cheery  Christmas  dinner. 

During  the  night  it  became  apparent  that  a  gale  was 
brewing,  and  Hussey's  prediction  seemed  to  be  only  too 
correct,  for  by  Christmas  morning  the  Quest  was  heaving 
and  pitching  and  behaving  in  such  a  lively  manner  that 
we  saw  that  any  attempt  at  festivity  on  this  day  would 
be  futile.  At  breakfast-time  it  was  almost  impossible  to 
keep  anything  on  the  table;  cups,  plates  and  crockery 
generally  were  thrown  about,  and  the  fiddles  proved 
useless  to  keep  them  in  position.  We  therefore  put 
away  Mrs.  Rowett's  delicacies  for  a  more  favourable 
occasion.  Green  had  a  hard  and  trying  time  in  his 
galley.  The  Boss  told  him  not  to  bother  about  serving 
a  decent  lunch,  but  to  serve  out  each  man  w^ith  a  good 
thick  bully-beef  sandwich.  This  we  ate  in  the  shelter 
of  the  alleyways,  well  braced  against  the  roll  of  the  ship. 
It  was  a  pleasant  surprise  when  Green  was  able  to  pro- 
duce some  hot  cocoa,  which  from  its  taste  I  suspected 
to  have  been  made  from  engine-room  water.  It  was, 
however,  hot  and  wet  and  comforting  to  our  chilled 

For  our  Christmas  dinner  we  had  a  thick  stew,  which 
was  not  bad.     Two  bottles  also  materialized,  one  of  rum 

52  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

and  one  of  whisky.  Each  man  was  allowed  a  tot  of 
whichever  he  preferred.  Rum,  being  the  stronger,  was 
generally  selected.  The  Boss  gave  us  the  toast  of  *'  Our 
good  friends,  John  and  Ellie  Rowett,"  which  we  drank 
enthusiastically.  Afterwards  the  Boss  asked  each  man 
where  he  had  spent  the  last  Christmas,  and  it  was  inter- 
esting to  find  how  much  scattered  over  the  globe  we  had 
been.  The  Boss  was  in  London,  Mcllroy  and  myself 
were  in  Central  Africa,  Worsley  in  Iceland,  Macklin  in 
Singapore,  Jeffrey  in  New  York,  Kerr  in  Hamburg, 
Carr  in  Lithuania,  McLeod  in  Mauritius,  Naisbitt  in 
Rio,  and  Young  in  Cape  Town.  Green  was  wandering 
somewhere  round  the  East  as  steward  of  a  tramp 
steamer,  and  of  all  of  us  only  the  Boss,  Hussey  and 
Marr,  the  Boy  Scout,  seemed  to  have  spent  theirs  at 

During  the  day  we  were  visited  by  numbers  of  sea 
birds  which  seemed  to  be  in  no  way  perturbed  by  the 
high  winds :  albatross,  whale  birds,  Mother  Carey's 
chickens.  Cape  pigeons  and  a  Cape  hen.  It  was  cheer- 
ing to  see  them  again,  these  old  friends  of  ours,  and  to 
watch  their  flight  as  they  sailed  cleverly  from  the  shelter 
of  one  wave  to  another,  rarely  meeting  the  full  force  of 
the  gale. 

On  the  26th  the  weather  had  abated  somewhat, 
though  a  strong  wind  continued  to  blow  from  the  west. 
The  temperature  dropped  to  60°  P.,  making  the  air  quite 
chilly,  and  we  were  glad  to  don  heavier  clothing. 

Kerr  came  to  me  with  a  report  that  the  forward  water 
tank  was  empty.  He  had  sounded  several  times,  and 
had  gone  below  to  tap  the  sides,  the  tank  yielding  a 
hollow  note,  so  that  there  was  no  doubt  about  it.  The 
small  after  tank,  which  had  been  freely  used  since  leav- 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  53 

ing  Rio  de  Janeiro,  was  also  nearly  empty,  so  that  there 
was  very  little  fresh  water  left  on  the  ship.  It  was 
necessary  to  report  this  to  Sir  Ernest,  though  I  did  not 
like  doing  so,  for  I  knew  that  the  former  troubles  had 
caused  him  much  worry,  and  he  was  now  in  hopes  that 
he  had  heard  the  last  of  them.  Though  he  took  the 
news,  which  was  serious  enough,  in  all  calmness,  I  could 
see  that  it  caused  him  some  uneasiness.  We  had  to 
economize  rigidly  in  the  use  of  what  water  was  left,  using 
it  for  cooking  and  drinking  purposes  only,  and  making 
the  best  use  we  could  of  sea  water  for  washing  and  clean- 
ing. There  was  a  small  exhaust  tank  in  the  engine- 
room,  which  collected  the  steam  after  it  had  passed 
through  the  cylinders.  The  amount  of  water  from  this 
source  was  small,  and  tasted  somewhat  oily,  but  it  helped 
to  eke  out  the  supply.  Kerr  removed  the  tank  lid  and 
made  a  search  from  inside  for  the  site  of  the  leak,  which 
proved  fortunately  to  be  not  in  the  walls  of  the  tank  itself 
but  at  the  junction  with  the  feed  pipe. 

During  the  night  of  the  27th-28th  the  wind  again 
freshened.  I  had  the  middle  watch.  By  2.0  a.m.  a 
furious  gale  was  blowing  from  the  W.N.W.  Rapidly 
rising  seas  came  along  in  quick  succession  with  big  curl- 
ing tops,  and  breaking  with  a  roar  ran  along  our  rails 
with  a  venomous  hiss.  The  wind  was  on  our  starboard 
quarter,  and  under  topsail  and  square-sail  we  made  good 
speed  before  it.  The  ship's  log  registered  nine  knots. 
With  each  drive  forward  of  the  big  seas  the  ship  overran 
her  engines,  ultimately  compelling  us  to  shut  off  steam. 
We  were  making  such  good  headway  that  I  was  loath  to 
heave-to,  and  we  continued  to  rush  along  in  a  smother  of 
foam  and  spray,  veering  and  twisting  to  such  an  extent 
that  the  man  at  the  wheel  had  all  his  work  cut  out  to 

54  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

maintain  a  course  and  prevent  her  from  broaching-to.  I 
was  afraid  that  some  of  the  gear  might  carry  away,  and 
strained  continuously  into  the  darkness  ahead.  There 
was,  however,  something  about  the  leap  and  swing  of 
the  ship  as  she  tore  along  that  caused  our  spirits  to  rise 
and  created  a  tremendous  feeling  of  uplift. 

I  was  relieved  at  4.0  a.m.  by  Worsley,  who  carried  on 
for  another  two  hours.  At  6.0  a.m.  the  seas  had  risen 
to  such  an  extent  that  Sir  Ernest  decided  to  heave-to, 
and  all  hands  were  called  to  take  in  sail.  Putting  the 
ship  straight  before  the  wind  we  let  go  the  square-sail 
with  a  run,  all  hands  rushing  forward  to  gather  up  the 
canvas  and  stow  it  securely.  Dell,  jumping  to  assist 
another  man,  got  his  foot  caught  in  a  coil  of  rope,  which, 
running  out  at  high  speed,  threw  him  violently  off  his 
feet,  causing  an  injury  from  which  he  took  months  to 
recover.  We  let  go  the  topsail  sheets  and  started  to 
clew  up,  the  wind  causing  the  sail  to  flap  with  loud 
reports  and  bending  the  yard  like  a  bow.  Worsley  and 
Macklin  clambered  aloft  to  take  it  in  and  pass  the 
gaskets  which  secure  it  to  the  yard. 

The  gale  increased  in  violence.  I  was  agreeably 
surprised  with  the  Qtiest's  behaviour,  for  she  lay-to  much 
more  comfortably  than  I  had  expected,  and  took  com- 
paratively little  water  over  her  sides.  There  was  enough, 
however,  to  make  things  uncomfortable,  for  it  filled  the 
waist  of  the  ship,  flooded  the  cabins,  and  sweeping  along 
the  alleyways  entered  the  galley  and  extinguished  the 
fires.  Green  stuck  valiantly  to  his  post  and  managed  at 
each  meal-time  to  serve  us  out  some  good  solid  sand- 
wiches and,  what  was  of  especial  value  under  the  cir- 
cumstances, a  good  hot  drink,  which  sent  a  warm  glow 
through  our  arteries  and  put  new  life  into  us.    We  con- 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  55 

siderably  reduced  the  amount  of  water  coming  on  board 
by  placing  a  series  of  oil  bags  over  the  bow,  which 
subdued  the  seas  in  a  manner  scarcely  credible  except 
to  those  who  watched  its  effect  upon  them,  as  with  break- 
ing tops  they  rushed  angrily  upon  us,  suddenly  to  lose 
all  their  sting  and  slip  harmless  under  our  keel.  With 
regard  to  the  use  of  oil  bags,  if  they  are  to  be  used  at  all, 
it  is  necessary  to  let  the  oil  run  freely,  though  not  neces- 
sarily wastefully.  Small  driblets  are  valueless  and  not 
worth  the  trouble  of  putting  over  the  side. 

The  next  day  there  was  still  a  strong  sea  running, 
but  it  was  merely  the  aftermath  of  the  gale,  which  lost 
its  sting  about  midnight.  In  the  morning  the  sun  came 
out  and  brightened  things  up  considerably.  Later  in 
the  day  we  were  able  to  set  sail  and  proceed  on  our  way. 
Our  friendly  sea-birds,  which  had  disappeared  during 
the  worst  of  the  storm,  returned  and  followed  in  our 

We  had  not  long  been  under  way  when  Sir  Ernest 
approached,  saying  quietly  :  "  Wild,  you  came  to  me 
with  bad  news  the  other  day;  I  have  some  news  for 

"Good  or  bad.?"  I  asked. 

"  Bad,"  he  replied;  "  worse  than  yours;  bad  enough 
perhaps  to  stop  the  expedition." 

He  then  told  me  that  Kerr,  who  had  been  the 
harbinger  of  so  much  evil  tidings,  had  again  to  report 
the  discovery  of  a  most  serious  condition.  Whilst  clean- 
ing fires  he  had  discovered  a  leak  in  the  furnace  from 
which  the  water  bubbled  out  and  ran  in  a  thin  stream 
down  the  sides.  He  was  unable  to  state  definitely  the 
exact  condition,  which  could  not  be  examined  until  our 
arrival  in  South  Georgia,  as  it  required  that  the  fires 

56  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

should  be  drawn  to  enable  him  to  creep  bodily  into  the 
furnace.  He  explained  that  it  might  be  a  small  matter 
which  could  be  repaired,  or  it  might  prove  to  be  so  serious 
that  the  boiler  could  not  be  used  further.  In  spite  of 
the  quiet  way  in  which  Sir  Ernest  took  this  news,  and 
the  calm  which  he  outwardly  exhibited,  I  think  it  proved 
to  be  a  pretty  severe  blow  and  the  cause  of  a  good  deal 
of  worry. 

Indeed,  all  this  recurrence  of  trouble  from  below 
decks,  in  departments  which  he  personally  had  not  been 
able  to  supervise,  must  have  proved  very  trying.  From 
the  very  first  inception  of  the  expedition  he  had  had 
difficulties  innumerable  which  might  well  have  broken 
the  spirit  of  a  lesser  man. 

For  the  present  Kerr  was  instructed  to  keep  a  watch- 
ful eye  on  the  condition  and,  unless  it  appeared  to  be 
getting  worse,  to  carry  on  under  reduced  pressure. 

The  wind  again  blew  up  to  a  moderate  gale  from  the 
westward  on  December  30th,  much  less  severe,  however, 
than  the  last  one,  though  with  very  violent  squalls.  We 
ran  off  before  it,  making  good  speed,  and  though  the 
rising  seas  rushed  down  upon  our  stern  as  if  to  poop  us, 
the  Quest  rose  to  let  them  pass  frothing  and  sizzling,  but 
harmless,  under  our  counter. 

Towards  evening,  however,  both  wind  and  sea  had 
increased,  and  Sir  Ernest  decided  to  take  in  sail  and 
heave-to.  Much  water  came  on  board  and  found  its 
way  into  Sir  Ernest's  cabin  and  my  own,  the  doors  of 
which  opened  on  to  the  waist  of  the  ship.  The  bunks 
were  sodden,  so  much  so  that  Sir  Ernest  left  his  and 
made  up  a  bed  on  one  of  the  benches  in  the  wardroom, 
refusing  to  deprive  any  other  man  of  his  bunk.  During 
the  long  spell  of  bad  weather  he  had  spent  nearly  the 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  57 

whole  time  on  the  bridge,  and  though  I  repeatedly  sug- 
gested to  him  that  he  should  lie  down  and  rest,  he  would 
not  do  so.  On  this  particular  night  he  took  Worsley's 
watch  as  well  as  his  own,  so  that  Worsley's  rest  might 
not  be  disturbed.  He  was  always  doing  little  things  like 
this  for  other  people. 

About  this  time  I  began  to  feel  a  little  bit  uneasy, 
for  it  seemed  to  me  that  he  was  doing  too  much  and 
subjecting  himself  to  too  great  a  strain. 

Macklin's  diary  shows  that  he  had  the  wheel  during 
the  second  dog-watch,  and  was  relieved  at  8.0  p.m.  by 
Sir  Ernest,  who  told  him  to  lash  the  wheel  and  go  to  bed. 

Macklin  noticed,  however,  that  the  Boss  was  looking 
tired  and  ill,  and  urged  him  to  call  Worsley  (whose  real 
watch  it  was)  and  turn  in  himself.  The  Boss  would  not 
hear  of  it,  saying  : 

"  You  boys  are  tired  and  need  all  the  sleep  you  can 

The  diary  says  : 

He  was  looking  so  tired  that  I  offered  with  some 
diffidence,  for  I  am  not  a  trained  seaman,  to  stay  on 
myself,  saying  that  on  the  least  sign  of  anything  unto- 
ward happening  I  would  blow  a  whistle.  Somehow 
or  other  a  long  conversation  ensued,  in  which  he  told 
me  many  things.     He  said  : 

"  If  this  crack  in  the  furnace  proves  serious  I  may 
have  to  abandon  the  expedition — my  reputation  will 
stand  it — but  I  am  not  beaten;  John  Rowett  under- 
stands me,  and  will  trust  me  to  make  the  best  of  things, 
even  if  I  have  to  get  a  new  ship." 

He  reverted  to  his  original  northern  scheme, 
saying  : 

58  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

"  The  Quest  would  have  been  suitable  for  that;  in 
the  Davis  Strait,  even  if  we  lost  her,  we  should  have 
had  no  difficulty  in  reaching  land,  where  we  could 
subsist  on  game  and  carry  on  without  her." 

So  ended  the  Old  Year.  New  Year's  Day  brought 
us  a  calm  sea  with  long  oily  swell,  and  over  all  a  drench- 
ing mist.  Being  a  Sunday  little  work  was  done,  and  all 
hands  were  allowed  a  rest  after  the  somewhat  trying 
days  we  had  just  experienced. 

With  the  new  year  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  again 
commenced  to  write  in  his  journal,  which  I  insert 

January  ist,  ig22. 

Rest  and  calm  after  the  storm.  The  year  has 
begun  kindly  for  us;  it  is  curious  how  a  certain  date 
becomes  a  factor  and  a  milestone  in  one's  life.  Christ- 
mas Day  in  a  raging  gale  seemed  out  of  place.  I 
dared  not  venture  to  hope  that  to-day  would  be  as  it 
was.  Anxiety  has  been  probing  deeply  into  me,  for 
until  the  very  end  of  the  year  things  have  gone  awry. 
Engines  unreliable;  furnace  cracked;  water  short; 
heavy  gales ;  all  that  physically  can  go  wrong,  but  the 
spirit  of  all  on  board  is  sound  and  good. 

There  are  two  points  in  the  adventures  of  a  diver, 
One  when  a  beggar  he  prepares  to  plunge, 
One  when  a  prince  he  rises  with  his  pearl. 

January  2nd^  1922. 

Another  wonderful  day,  fine,  clear,  a  slight  head 
wind,  but  cheerful  for  us  after  these  last  days  of  stress 
and  strain.  At  i  p.m.  we  passed  our  first  berg.  The 
old  familiar  sight  aroused  in  me  memories  that  the 
strenuous  years  had  deadened.     Blue  caverns  shone 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  59 

with   sky-glow  snatched   from   heaven   itself,   green 
spurs  showed  beneath  the  water. 

And  bergs  mast  high 
Came  sailing  by, 
As  green  as  emerald. 

Ah  me  !  the  years  that  have  gone  since  in  the  pride 
of  young  manhood  I  first  went  forth  to  the  fight.  I 
grow  old  and  tired,  but  must  always  lead  on. 

January  yd^  1922. 

Another  beautiful  day ;  fortune  seems  to  attend  us 
this  New  Year,  but  so  anxious  have  I  been,  when 
things  are  going  well,  I  wonder  what  internal  difficulty 
will  be  sprung  upon  me.  All  day  long  a  light  wind 
and  clear  sky  was  our  happy  portion.  I  find  a  diffi- 
culty in  settling  down  to  write — I  am  so  much  on  the 
qui  vive;  I  pray  that  the  furnace  will  hold  out. 

Thankful  that  I  can 
Be  crossed  and  thwarted  as  a  man. 

January  ^th,  1922. 

At  last,  after  sixteen  days  of  turmoil  and  anxiety, 
on  a  peaceful  sunshiny  day,  we  came  to  anchor  in 
Gritviken.  How  familiar  the  coast  seemed  as  we 
passed  down  :  we  saw  with  full  interest  the  places  we 
struggled  over  after  the  boat  journey.  Now  we  must 
speed  all  we  can,  but  the  prospect  is  not  too  bright,  for 
labour  is  scarce.  The  old  familiar  smell  of  dead 
whale  permeates  everything.  It  is  a  strange  and 
curious  place. 

Douglas  and  Wilkins  are  at  different  ends  of  the 
island.     A  wonderful  evening. 

In  the  darkening  twilight  I  saw  a  lone  star  hover 
Gem-like  above  the  bay. 

6o  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

These  were  the  last  words  written  by  Sir  Ernest 

I  continue  my  own  narrative. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  Wednesday,  January  4th,  we 
sighted  Wallis  Island,  and  soon  after  the  main  island  of 
South  Georgia  opened  into  view,  with  its  snow-clad  rocky 
slopes  and  big  glaciers  running  to  the  sea.  With  fair 
wind  and  in  smooth  water  we  passed  along  the  coast. 
Sir  Ernest  at  sight  of  the  island  had  completely  thrown 
off  his  despondency,  became  once  more  his  active  self, 
and  stood  with  Worsley  and  myself  on  the  bridge,  pick- 
ing out  through  binoculars,  with  almost  boyish  excite- 
ment, the  old  familiar  features,  and  recognizing  places 
with  such  words  as,  "  Look,  there's  the  glacier  we 
descended  !  "  or,  "  There,  do  you  see,  coming  into  view, 
the  slope  where  we  lit  the  Primus  and  cooked  our 
meal  ?  "  He  kept  his  spirits  throughout  the  day,  and  it 
was  with  the  greatest  pleasure  that  I  recognized  once 
more  the  old  buoyant,  optimistic  Boss. 

The  day  cleared  beautifully,  and  we  entered  Cumber- 
land Bay  in  bright  sunshine,  with  not  a  ripple  on  the 
surface  of  the  water.  How  familiar  it  all  seemed  as  we 
rounded  the  point  and  entered  Gritviken  Harbour,  with 
the  little  station  nestling  at  the  foot  of  the  three  big 
peaks,  the  spars  of  the  Tijuca,  the  small  whalers  along 
the  pier;  all  exactly  as  we  had  left  them  seven  years 
before.  The  Boss,  looking  across  at  the  slopes  above 
our  ''  dog-lines,"  remarked,  '*  The  Cross  has  gone  from 
the  hillside  !  "  ' 

The  poles  which  had  been  set  up  by  us  to  mark  the 
north  and  south  direction  were  still  standing;  we  were 

^  Referring   to   a   conspicuously   placed   cross   set   up   by   the   crew   of   the 
Deutschland  to  one  of  their  members  who  had  died  there. 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  6i 

informed  that  they  were  used  regularly  by  the  whalers 
in  adjusting  their  compasses. 

We  passed  the  spit  with  the  little  Argentine  meteoro- 
logical station,  behind  which  lay  the  house  of  the 
Government  officials,  and  dropped  anchor  in  the  Endur- 
ance's old  anchorage. 

One  familiar  landmark  was  missing — the  little 
hospital  hut  in  which  I  had  lived  with  Mcllroy,  Macklin, 
Hussey,  Crean  and  Marston,  the  dog-drivers  of  the  last 
expedition.  We  found  later  that  it  had  been  moved 
from  its  old  site  close  to  the  "  dog-lines  "  to  a  more 
central  position  amongst  the  huts  of  the  station. 

Mr.  Jacobsen,  the  manager,  an  old  friend  of  ours, 
came  aboard,  and  shortly  afterwards  returned  to  the 
shore  with  Sir  Ernest,  who  was  full  of  vigour  and 

I  had  the  boat  lowered  and  went  ashore  with  Mcllroy, 
Hussey,  Carr,  Macklin  and  some  others  to  look  about 
our  old  quarters. 

The  season  was  now  midsummer,  the  snow  had  dis- 
appeared from  the  lower  slopes,  and  with  the  bright 
sunshine  and  warmth  the  place  had  a  very  different 
aspect  from  what  it  had  when  we  were  here  in  19 14,  much 
earlier  in  the  season.  In  other  respects  there  was  little 
change,  and  we  recognized  amongst  the  workers  at  the 
station  a  number  with  whom  we  had  been  familiar;  in 
particular,  one  of  the  flensers,  a  hard-bitten  individual 
who  was  standing  with  spiked  sea-boots  on  a  huge  whale 
carcass,  assisting  the  stripping  process  by  deft  cuts  here 
and  there  with  his  long-handled  knife. 

We  visited  our  old  hut  in  its  new  situation.  It  was 
now  being  used  as  a  hospital  again,  and  a  young  Danish 
doctor  was  in  charge.     We  passed  along  to  its  old  site 

62  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

beside  the  stream,  which  runs  clear  and  icy  cold  straight 
from  the  snows.  There  was  much  less  volume  of  water 
than  when  we  were  here  before,  but  the  little  basin  we 
had  cut  out  as  a  bathing  place  was  still  there.  Here, 
with  the  others,  I  used  to  take  a  morning  dip.  That  was 
in  the  days  of  my  hardihood.  Macklin  used  to  lie  down 
in  it,  and  stand  in  the  snow  to  dry  himself. 

We  went  on  to  the  *'  dog-lines,"  passing  en  route 
the  little  cemetery,  which  we  glanced  at  casually  enough. 
The  stakes  to  which  we  had  secured  the  tethering  lines 
were  still  standing  as  we  had  left  them,  as  were  also  the 
boards  with  which  we  had  made  a  flooring  for  the  tent. 
We  climbed  the  hill  to  a  lake,  on  the  frozen  surface  of 
which  we  used  to  exercise  the  dogs — it  was  now  a  sheet 
of  open  water.  We  sat  down  on  the  banks,  enjoying  the 
lovely  sunshine,  and  watched  the  countless  skua  gulls 
and  terns  which,  attracted  by  the  unwonted  visitors,  flew 
close  down  over  our  heads.  The  younger  spirits,  full 
of  exuberance,  and  revelling  in  the  change  from  the 
confinement  of  the  ship,  threw  stones  at  them,  and 
tempted  Query,  who  had  accompanied  us,  to  retrieve 
pieces  of  wood  from  the  lake. 

On  our  way  back  we  were  accosted  by  an  incongruous 
figure — a  coal-black  nigger,  on  whose  head  was  perched 
a  bowler  hat  many  sizes  too  small.  He  addressed  us 
with  a  marked  American  twang  : 

"  Say,  you  boys  from  the  Quest,  you  goin'  to  the 
South  Pole,  ain't  you.^  Wal,  guess  I'm  comin'  along 
with  ya  !  " 

We  guessed  he  wasn't,  and  passed  on.  We  learned 
from  Mr.  Jacobsen  that  he  was  a  stowaway  from  St. 
Vincent,  who  was  a  perfect  nuisance  to  them,  and  who 
was  being  sent  away  ai  the  earliest  opportunity. 

Rio  to  South  Georgia  63 

This  being  the  first  time  we  had  been  on  an  even  keel 
since  leaving  Rio  de  Janeiro,  we  had  dinner  in  comfort 
and  spent  a  cheery  evening,  the  Boss  being  full  of  jokes. 
At  the  finish  he  rose,  saying,  "  To-morrow  we'll  keep 
Christmas."  I  went  on  deck  with  him,  and  we  discussed 
a  few  details  of  work.  He  went  to  his  cabin  to  turn  in. 
I  arranged  for  an  "  anchor  watch  "  to  be  kept,  and  also 
turned  in  early  for  a  good  sound  sleep. 



ON  Thursday,  January  5th,  I  was  awakened  about 
3.0  A.M.  to  find  both  of  the  doctors  in  my  cabin — 
Macklin  was  lighting  my  oil  lamp.     Mcllroy  said  : 

"  We  want  you  to  wake  up  thoroughly,  for  we  have 
some  bad  news  to  give  you — the  worst  possible.'' 

I  sat  up,  saying  : 

"  Go  on  with  it,  let  me  have  it  straight  out !  " 

He  replied  :  "  The  Boss  is  dead  !  *' 

It  was  a  staggering  blow. 

Roused  thus  in  the  middle  of  the  night  to  receive 
this  news,  it  was  some  minutes  before  I  felt  its  full 
significance.     I  remember  saying  mechanically  : 

"  The  Boss  dead  !  Dead,  do  you  mean.?  He  can't 
be  dead !  " 

On  asking  for  particulars,  I  learned  from  Macklin 
that  he  was  taking  the  2.0-4.0  a.m.  anchor  watch.  He 
was  patrolling  the  ship,  when  he  was  attracted  by  a 
whistle  from  the  Boss's  cabin,  and  on  going  in,  found 
him  sitting  up  in  his  bunk.  His  own  account,  written 
almost  immediately  after,  is  as  follows  : 

Was  called  at  2.0  a.m.  for  my  watch.  A  cold 
night  but  clear  and  beautiful,  with  every  star  showing. 
I  was  slowly  walking  up  and  down  the  deck,  when  I 
heard  a  whistle  from  the  Boss's  cabin.  I  went  in,  and 
he  said  :  "  Hullo,  Mack,  boy,  is  that  you  }  I  thought 
it  was."     He  continued  :  *'  I  can't  sleep  to-night,  can 


^^i^'^^-^..^^^  ^^ " 

Photo:  Wilkins 


Photo :    Wilkins 


Death  of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton         65 

you  get  me  a  sleeping  draught  ?  "  He  explained  that 
he  was  suffering  from  severe  facial  neuralgia,  and  had 
taken  fifteen  grains  of  aspirin.  "  That  stuff  is  no 
good ;  will  you  get  me  something  which  will  act  ?  " 

I  noticed  that  although  it  was  a  cold  night  he  had 
only  one  blanket,  and  asked  him  if  he  had  no  others. 
He  replied  that  they  were  in  his  bottom  drawer  and 
he  could  not  be  bothered  getting  them  out.  I  started 
to  do  so,  but  he  said,  ''  Never  mind  to-night,  I  can 
stand  the  cold."  However,  I  went  back  to  my  cabin 
and  got  a  heavy  Jaeger  blanket  from  my  bunk,  which 
I  tucked  round  him.  He  was  unusually  quiet  in  the 
way  he  let  me  do  things  for  him.  .  .  .  He  talked  of 
many  things  quite  rationally,  and  finding  him  in  such 
a  complacent  mood,  I  thought  it  a  good  opportunity 
to  emphasize  the  necessity  of  his  taking  things  very 
much  more  quietly  than  he  had  been  doing.  ..."  You 
are  always  wanting  me  to  give  up  something.  What 
do  you  want  me  to  give  up  now  ?  "  This  was  the  last 
thing  he  said. 

He  died  quite  suddenly. 

1  remamed  with  him  during  the  worst  of  the  attack, 
but  as  soon  as  I  could  leave  him  I  ran  to  Mcllroy  and, 
shaking  him  very  roughly  I  am  afraid,  said  :  "  Wake 
up,  Mick,  come  at  once  to  the  Boss.  He  is  dying !  " 
On  my  way  back  I  woke  Hussey,  and  told  him  to  get 
me  certain  medicines.  It  must  have  been  rather  a 
shocking  awakening  for  both  of  them,  but  they  leapt 
up  at  once.  Nothing  could  be  done,  however.  I 
noted  the  time — it  was  about  2.50  a.m. 

I  had  Worsley  called  and  informed  him  of  what  had 
occurred.     To  the  rest  I  said  nothing  till  the  morning. 

66  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

At  8.0  A.M.  I  mustered  all  hands  on  the  poop,  and 
told  them  the  bad  news.  Naturally  it  was  a  great  shock 
to  them  all,  especially  to  those  who  had  served  with 
him  before  and  thus  knew  him  more  intimately.  I  added 
briefly  that  I  now  commanded  the  expedition,  which 
would  carry  on. 

On  that  day,  and  on  the  several  that  followed,  rain 
fell  heavily,  fitting  in  with  our  low  spirits. 

I  immediately  set  about  making  arrangements  for 
sending  home  the  sad  news  to  Lady  Shackleton,  and 
for  notifying  Mr.  Rowett. 

I  sent  for  Watts,  our  wireless  operator,  and  asked 
him  if  he  could  establish  communication.  He  said  he 
would  try.  From  his  log  :  *'  My  ambition  was  to  get 
the  type  15  set  working,  so  as  to  pass  the  news  as 
quickly  as  possible.  The  whole  set  I  stripped  and 
tested  thoroughly,  and  '  made  good  '  minor  defects,  but 
luck  was  still  against  me.  The  dynamo  was  run  at 
5.45  P.M.,  and  whilst  testing  the  installation  the  machine 
suddenly  raced,  and  fuses  were  blown  out,  so  further 
working  of  the  set  had  to  be  abandoned." 

I  went  ashore  to  see  Mr.  Jacobsen,  who  was  deeply 
shocked  at  the  news.  I  learned  from  him  that  there 
was  no  wireless  apparatus  on  the  island  other  than  those 
carried  by  the  oil  transport  steamers,  none  of  which, 
however,  had  a  sending  range  sufficient  to  get  into  touch 
with  a  receiving  station  from  here.  He  told  me  that 
the  Alduera,  a  steamer  lying  at  Leith  Harbour  farther 
round  the  coast,  was  due  to  sail  in  about  ten  days.  He 
said  that  if  I  cared  to  go  to  Leith  and  make  arrange- 
ments with  her  captain  for  sending  the  news,  he  would 
put  at  my  disposal  the  Lillle  Karl,  a  small  steam  whaler 
used  by  him  for  visiting  different  parts  of  the  island. 

Death  of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton         67 

I  accepted  his  offer,  and  whilst  the  vessel  was  being 
got  ready  went  with  Mcllroy  and  Macklin  to  notify  the 
resident  magistrate.  He  was  away  at  another  station, 
but  I  saw  Mr.  Barlas,  the  assistant  magistrate.  It  is 
curious  how  one  notices  small  things  at  a  time  like  this. 
One  incident  stands  out  vividly  in  my  memory.  At 
the  moment  of  my  telling  him  he  was  lighting  a  cigarette, 
which  he  dropped  on  the  table-cloth,  where  it  continued 
to  burn.  I  remember  picking  it  up  for  him  and  placing 
it  where  it  could  do  no  harm.  This  done  I  left  for  Leith 
with  Mcllroy,  who  during  the  whole  of  this  time  was  of 
the  greatest  help  and  assistance.  Everyone  at  Leith 
showed  the  greatest  kindness  and  sympathy,  and  Captain 
Manson,  of  the  Albuera,  readily  undertook  to  send  off 
the  message  as  soon  as  he  got  within  range  of  any 
wireless  station. 

Arrangements  for  the  disposal  of  the  body  I  left  to 
Macklin,  and  to  Hussey  I  entrusted  the  care  of  papers 
and  personal  effects. 

At  first  I  decided  to  bury  Sir  Ernest  in  South 
Georgia.  I  had  no  idea,  however,  of  what  Lady  Shackle- 
ton's  wishes  might  be,  and  so  ultimately  decided  to  send 
him  home  to  England.  The  doctors  embalmed  the 
body,  which  was  placed  in  a  lined  coffin  kindly  made 
for  us  by  Mr.  Hansen,  of  Leith.  There  was  a  steamer 
named  Professor  Gruvel  lying  in  Gritviken  Harbour, 
which  was  due  to  sail  in  about  ten  days,  and  her  captain, 
Captain  Jacobsen,  offered  to  carry  the  body  as  far  as 
Monte  Video,  from  where  it  could  be  sent  on  by  mail 

As  soon  as  the  necessary  arrangements  had  been 
made  we  carried  him  ashore.  All  hands  mustered 
quietly  and  stood  bareheaded  as  we  lifted  the  coffin, 

68  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

covered  by  our  silk  white  ensign,  to  the  side  of  the 
Quest,  and  passed  it  over  into  a  motor  launch.  All  the 
time  the  rain  soaked  heavily  down.  From  the  pier  we 
carried  him  to  the  little  hospital  and  placed  him  in  the 
room  in  which  we  had  lived  together  seven  years 

The  next  day  we  carried  him  to  the  little  church, 
which  is  situated  so  romantically  at  the  foot  of  towering 
snow-covered  mountains,  over  ground  which  he  had  so 
often  trod  with  firm,  eager  steps  in  making  the  final 
preparations  for  the  start  of  the  Endurance  expedition. 

Here  I  said  good-bye  to  the  Boss,  a  great  explorer, 
a  great  leader  and  a  good  comrade. 

I  had  served  with  him  in  all  his  expeditions,  twice 
as  his  second-in-command.  I  accompanied  him  on  his 
great  journey  which  so  nearly  attained  the  Pole,  shared 
with  him  every  one  of  his  trials  and  vicissitudes  in  the 
South,  and  rejoiced  with  him  in  his  triumphs.  No  one 
knew  the  explorer  side  of  his  nature  better  than  I,  and 
many  are  the  tales  I  could  tell  of  his  thoughtfulness  and 
his  sacrifices  on  behalf  of  others,  of  which  he  himself 
never  spoke. 

Of  his  hardihood  and  extraordinary  powers  of  endur- 
ance, his  buoyant  optimism  when  things  seemed  hopeless 
and  his  unflinching  courage  in  the  face  of  danger  I  have 
no  need  to  speak.  He  always  did  more  than  his  share 
of  work.  Medical  evidence  shows  that  the  condition 
which  caused  his  death  was  an  old  standing  one  and  was 
due  to  throwing  too  great  a  strain  upon  a  system  weak- 
ened by  shortage  of  food.  I  have  known  personally  and 
served  with  all  the  British  leaders  of  exploration  in  the 
Antarctic  since  my  first  voyage  in  the  Discovery.  For 
qualities  of  leadership  and  ability  to  organize  Shackleton 



Fkoi,::  i^-uK. 

Death  of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton        69 

stands  foremost  and  must  be  ranked  as  the  first  explorer 
of  his  day. 

I  felt  his  loss,  coming  as  it  did,  most  keenly. 

In  order  to  ensure  safe  disposal  of  the  body,  and  to 
arrange  for  its  transference  at  Monte  Video,  I  detailed 
Hussey  to  accompany  it  home.  I  could  ill  spare  him, 
but  I  considered  him  the  most  suitable  man  I  could  select 
for  the  purpose.  Naturally  it  was  a  disappointment  to 
him  to  give  up  the  expedition,  but  he  accepted  the 
responsibility  without  demur,  and  I  am  grateful  to 
him  for  the  spirit  in  which  he  complied  with  my 

As  subsequent  events  turned  out,  Hussey  received 
a  message  at  Monte  Video  from  Lady  Shackleton  ex- 
pressing her  wish  that  Sir  Ernest  should  be  buried  in 
South  Georgia,  which  was  the  scene  of  one  of  his  greatest 
exploits,  and  which  might  well  be  described  as  the 
"  Gateway  of  the  Antarctic."  The  coffin  was  returned 
to  Gritviken  by  the  Woodville,  through  the  courtesy  of 
Captain  Least,  and  Sir  Ernest  was  ultimately  buried  in 
the  little  cemetery  beside  our  old  "  dog-lines."  Of  his 
comrades,  only  Hussey  was  present  at  the  funeral,  for  the 
rest  of  us  had  already  sailed  into  the  South,  but  there  were 
many  amongst  the  hardy  whalers  of  South  Georgia  who 
attended,  men  who  knew  him  and  could,  better  than  most 
people,  appreciate  his  work.  Nor  was  the  sympathetic 
presence  of  a  woman  lacking,  for  at  the  funeral  was  Mrs. 
Aarberg,  wife  of  the  Norwegian  doctor  at  Leith,  who 
with  kindly  thought  had  placed  upon  his  grave  a  wreath 
made  from  the  only  flowers  on  the  island,  those  which 
she  had  cultivated  with  much  care  and  patience  inside 
her  own  house.  She  was  the  only  woman  on  South 

70  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

I  have  not  the  least  doubt  that  had  Sir  Ernest  been 
able  to  decide  upon  his  last  resting-place,  it  is  just  here 
that  he  would  have  chosen  to  lie,  and  would  have  pre- 
ferred this  simple  funeral  to  any  procedure  carried  out 
with  greater  pomp  and  ceremony. 

Not  here  !  the  white  South  has  thy  bones ;  and  thou, 

Heroic  sailor-soul, 
Art  passing  on  thine  happier  voyage  now 

Toward  no  earthly  Pole/ 

*  Adaptation  from  Tennyson's  lines  on  Franklin. 



We  can  make  good  all  loss  except 
The  loss  of  turning  back. — Kipling. 

THOUGH  we  all  felt  very  keenly  the  loss  we  had 
suffered  in  the  death  of  the  Boss,  we  could  not 
allow  our  depression  of  spirits  to  take  too  strong  a  hold 
on  us,  for  there  was  much  work  to  be  done. 

The  season  was  now  well  advanced,  and  I  had  to 
make  up  my  mind  at  once  as  to  what  we  were  going  to 
do.  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton's  death,  occurring  at  this 
critical  juncture,  left  me  with  no  knowledge  of  his  plans, 
for  he  had  withheld  any  definite  decision  as  to  future 
movements  until  he  should  be  able  to  arrange  for  another 
complete  overhaul  of  the  engines.  Since  hearing  of  the 
crack  in  the  furnace  he  had  outlined  several  alternative 
propositions  without,  however,  showing  any  definite 
leaning  to  any  one  of  them. 

The  entry  in  his  diary  of  January  ist  shows  how 
fully  he  realized  the  condition  of  the  engines.  Yet  he 
added  :  "  But  the  spirit  of  all  on  board  is  sound  and 
good  " ;  and  later,  "  I  must  always  lead  on  "  !  There  is 
not  the  slightest  doubt  that  he  intended  to  go  on  with 
the  work,  and  I  knew  that  had  he  lived  he  would  have 
found  some  way  to  carry  on. 

My  position,  when  summed  up,  was  as  follows  : 

I  was  out  of  communication  with  the  rest  of  the 
world,  and  there  was  no  possibility  of  my  receiving  any 


72  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

message  from  Mr.  Rowett.     I  had  therefore  to  act  for 

The  Antarctic  open  season  was  well  advanced,  and 
thus  limited  the  time  available  for  manoeuvring  in  the 
ice.     I  had  therefore  to  act  without  delay. 

With  regard  to  the  ship,  the  recent  heavy  storms  had 
shown  her  to  be  a  fine  sea-boat,  capable  of  standing  any 
weather  at  sea.  Rigging  and  hull  were  sound.  The 
troubles  which  had  so  continuously  cropped  up  since  our 
leaving  England  had  shown,  however,  that  the  engines 
could  not  be  regarded  as  reliable. 

We  were  short  of  both  food  stores  and  equipment, 
for  our  depot  for  the  South  was  to  have  been  Cape 
Town,  and  as  a  result  of  all  the  delays  involved  since 
our  start  we  had  not  been  able  to  go  there  and  take  them 
up.  The  food  stores  included  those  things  most  suitable 
for  cold  regions.  The  general  equipment  included 
warm  clothing,  footgear,  sledging  gear  and  harness; 
special  ice  equipment  in  the  way  of  ice-picks,  ice- 
anchors  and  hand  harpoons;  oil  and  paraffin  for  the 
engines  and  dynamos,  and  a  quantity  of  scientific  gear. 

As  to  personnel,  I  knew  that  I  had  with  me  men  who 
would  staunchly  stand  by  me  and  support  me  in  whatever 
decision  I  should  come  to. 

Sir  Ernest  had  spoken  on  one  occasion,  just  before 
arrival  at  South  Georgia,  of  proceeding  down  Bransfield 
Strait,  finding  a  suitable  spot  somewhere  on  the  western 
side  of  Graham  Land,  and  freezing  the  ship  in  for  the 
winter.  When  summer  appeared  he  would  cross  Graham 
Land  to  the  Weddell  Sea  and  explore  the  coastline  on 
that  side  as  far  as  time  and  conditions  should  permit. 

Of  his  different  plans,  this  and  his  published  pro- 
gramme of  proceeding  eastwards  and  making  an  attempt 

Preparations  in  South  Georgia  73 

to  penetrate  the  pack  ice  as  near  to  Enderby  Land  as 
possible,  and  from  there  to  push  south,  were  the  only 
two  which  I  could  consider. 

As  to  the  first,  for  the  carrying  out  of  this  I  should 
require  a  large  quantity  of  stores,  sledging  equipment 
and  good  winter  clothing.  As  before  stated,  these  were 
at  Cape  Town,  and  unless  I  could  obtain  them  in  South 
Georgia  this  scheme  must  fall  through. 

Sir  Ernest's  last  message  home  had  been  that  all  was 
well  with  the  ship  and  the  expedition,  and  he  had  never 
had  a  chance  to  announce  publicly  the  final  situation. 
Mr.  Rowett  might  therefore  wonder  at  any  change  of 
plan  occurring  after  his  death.  On  this  score,  however, 
I  was  not  greatly  concerned,  for  I  felt  that  in  anything 
I  should  undertake  I  would  have  his  support  and  carry 
his  trust. 

With  regard  to  the  original  published  programme,  I 
realized  that  to  enter  an  area  which  had  hitherto  proved 
impenetrable  to  every  ship  which  had  made  the  attempt, 
would  with  the  Quest  be  a  hazardous  undertaking  even 
under  the  most  favourable  circumstances.  Any  ship 
entering  heavy  pack  ice  runs  a  risk  of  being  beset  and 
frozen  in,  and  when  that  has  occurred  her  fate  lies  abso- 
lutely with  the  gods.  Should  the  ship  be  crushed,  the 
chances  of  escape  from  the  area  in  which  we  should  be 
working  could  only  be  regarded  as  remote,  for  even  if  we 
succeeded  in  escaping  from  the  pack  with  our  boats,  the 
nearest  point  we  could  make  for  would  be  Cape  Town,  a 
distance  of  over  two  thousand  miles,  through  stormy  seas, 
dependent  for  water  supply  upon  what  we  could  collect 
in  the  way  of  rain. 

Any  fool  can  push  a  ship  into  the  ice  and  lose  her — 
my  job  was  to  bring  her  back  again. 

74  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

On  careful  weighing  of  the  two  alternatives  the 
Graham  Land  proposition  appealed  to  me  more 
strongly,  for  it  offered  the  prospect  of  good  work;  and 
in  case  of  accident  we  should  be  within  measurable  reach 
of  whalers,  which  in  their  search  for  whales  penetrate 
deeply  amongst  the  islands  of  the  Palmer  Archipelago. 

Though  I  was  faced  with  an  innumerable  number  of 
smaller  considerations,  the  above  represents  roughly  the 
situation  at  the  time. 

Therefore  with  these  points  of  view  in  mind  before 
coming  to  any  decision  at  all,  I  gave  instructions  to  Kerr 
to  examine  thoroughly  and  overhaul  the  engines  and 
boilers  and  report  to  me  his  considered  opinion.  This 
he  did.  The  work  done  at  Rio  had  been  good  and 
sound,  and  he  considered  the  condition  of  the  engines 
to  be  fit  for  proceeding.  The  boiler  presented  a  difficult 
problem.  On  looking  up  the  record  of  the  Quest  (or  the 
Foca  I  as  she  was  previously  named)  in  the  Norwegian 
Veritas,  I  discovered  that  though  the  ship  was  compara- 
tively new,  the  boiler  had  been  built  in  1890,  and  was 
thus  thirty-one  years  old. 

Kerr  made  an  examination  from  inside,  and  I  had 
also  the  second  opinion,  by  courtesy  of  Captain  Jacobsen, 
of  the  chief  engineer  of  the  Professor  Gruvel. 

The  report  showed  that  the  condition  was  not  repar- 
able, but  at  the  same  time  was  not  likely  to  develop 
further  and  become  serious. 

I  threw  upon  Kerr  the  onus  of  deciding  as  to  whether 
the  engines  and  boiler  were  fit  to  continue  with  into  the 
ice  or  not.  With  true  native  caution  (he  comes  of  Aber- 
deen stock)  he  replied  that  there  was  always  a  risk  of 
breakdown,  but  not  an  unreasonable  one ;  he  was  willing 
to  take  it  himself. 

Preparations  in  South  Georgia         75 

So  far  as  that  was  concerned  I  decided  to  go 

My  next  step  was  to  see  about  the  special  winter 
equipment  which  Sir  Ernest  had  hoped  would  be 
available  here. 

I  learned  to  my  dismay  from  Mr.  Jacobsen  that 
Filchner's  store  had  been  opened  up  and  the  contents 
scattered.  There  were  no  dogs  on  the  island.  They 
had  proved  so  voracious  and  such  a  nuisance  to  the 
station  that  they  had  been  shot.  Food  could  be  ob- 
tained, and  a  certain  amount  of  clothing  from  the  slop 
chests'  of  the  different  stations,  but  this  was  considered 
of  doubtful  quality  and  not  recommended  for  our  pur- 
pose. I  thought  bitterly  of  the  good  stuff  lying  in  a 
Cape  Town  warehouse. 

These  considerations  caused  me  reluctantly  to  rule 
out  the  Graham  Land  proposition. 

There  remained  now  only  to  carry  on  as  the  Boss 
had  intended  or  to  go  back.  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
I  hardly  gave  the  latter  a  thought.  To  go  back  was 
intolerable  and  quite  incompatible  with  British  prestige. 
To  carry  out  against  all  difficulties  the  work  the  Boss 
had  set  out  to  do  appealed  to  me  strongly.  I  made  my 
decision,  and  let  it  be  known  to  all  hands,  giving  each 
one  a  chance  to  back  out  before  it  was  too  late.  I 
believe  there  was  not  one  who  ever  so  much  as  thought 
of  it,  and  none  seemed  to  doubt  but  that  we  would  go  on. 
Such  is  the  onus  of  leadership.  Where  you  must  con- 
cern yourself  for  the  safety  and  welfare  of  those  under 
your  charge,  they  place  in  you  their  trust  and  do  not 
worry  at  all.     This  is  as  it  should  be. 

I  told  Macklin,  who  was  in  charge  of  stores  and 

*  Clothing  stores. 

76  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

equipment,  to  take  a  complete  and  accurate  tally  of 
everything  we  had  aboard  and  then  work  out  and  make 
a  list  of  requirements  for  the  period  to  be  spent  in 
the  ice. 

When  this  was  done  I  sent  him  to  visit  the  different 
stations  and  pick  out  from  their  slop  chests  anything 
that  he  might  consider  necessary  in  the  way  of  clothing. 

Nothing  was  available  at  Gritviken,  and  so  on 
January  i6th  we  left  for  Leith  Harbour,  where  we 
received  the  greatest  kindness  from  Mr.  Hansen,  the 
manager  of  the  whaling  station.  His  keen  interest  and 
practical  assistance  meant  a  great  deal  to  me  at  this 
critical  time,  and  his  genial  qualities  and  kindly  hospi- 
tality did  much  to  dissipate  the  gloom  which  had  fallen 
upon  us.  We  obtained  from  him  all  the  food  stores  we 
required  and  a  general  outfit  of  clothing  and  blankets, 
which,  though  by  no  means  the  equivalent  of  our  own 
specially  prepared  stuff,  was  at  least  adequate  to  meet 
the  demands  of  a  single  season.  Amongst  other  things, 
each  man  was  provided  with  a  fur-lined  leather  cap,  an 
abundance  of  socks  and  mitts,  a  pair  of  stout  ankle 
boots,  a  pair  of  sea  boots,  a  quantity  of  warm  under- 
clothing, heavy  pea-jacket,  light  windproof  jacket,  a 
stout  pair  of  trousers,  three  good  blankets  and  a  warm 

It  was  necessary  before  starting  to  fill  the  bunkers 
with  coal.  Mr.  Hansen  had  none  to  spare,  but  he  took 
me  round  in  a  whaler  to  Husvik  Harbour,  where  Mr. 
Andersen,  the  manager,  promised  to  supply  me  with 
what  we  required. 

On  January  14th  I  told  Worsley  to  take  the  Quest 
to  Husvik,  where  she  was  placed  alongside  the  Orwell, 
the  station  oil  carrier,  from  which  we  took  aboard  105 

Preparations  in  South  Georgia         ^^ 

tons  of  best  Welsh  coal.  In  the  meantime  work  had 
been  going  on  busily  on  board,  for  Worsley  and  Jeffrey 
had  much  to  do  in  their  preparations  for  the  ice.  The 
forward  water  tank  had  been  made  sound  and  a  hand 
pump  fitted.  Dell,  McLeod  and  Marr  tested  all  run- 
ning gear  and  rigging,  which  was  set  up  in  good  order 
and  any  defective  material  replaced.  Marr,  since  leav- 
ing Rio,  had  been  replaced  in  the  galley  by  Naisbitt, 
and  now  assisted  Dell  about  the  deck,  a  job  very  much 
more  to  his  taste.  He  was  also  appointed  "  Lampy," 
having  charge  of  all  the  non-electrical  lighting  of  the 

Wilkins  and  Douglas,  who  had  preceded  us  here 
from  Rio  de  Janeiro  in  order  to  have  more  time  for  their 
scientific  work,  rejoined  us,  and  were  much  shocked  at 
the  news  we  had  to  give  them. 

We  were  now  ready  for  sea,  but  returned  first  to 
Leith  Harbour  to  pick  up  two  ice  anchors  and  a  number 
of  hand  harpoons,  ice  picks  and  ice  axes  which  Mr. 
Hansen  had  turned  out  for  us  in  his  workshop. 

We  received  from  the  Norwegian  people  in  South 
Georgia  during  the  whole  of  our  stay  nothing  but  the 
greatest  kindness  and  sympathy  and  the  most  valuable 
practical  assistance  in  our  somewhat  extensive  prepara- 
tions. This  is  the  more  remarkable  in  that  they  are  not 
of  our  nationality  and  Norway  has  ever  been  our  keenest 
rival  in  Polar  exploration.  They  were,  however,  as  Sir 
Ernest  would  have  said,  "  of  the  Brotherhood  of  the 
Sea,"  and  that  explains  much. 

We  were  about  to  embark  upon  what  would  most 
certainly  prove  to  be  the  most  arduous  part  of  our  pro- 
gramme, which  I  had  briefly  outlined  in  a  last  letter  to 
Mr.  Rowett  as  follows  : 

78  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

As  I  am  at  present  out  of  communication  with  you, 
and  in  view  of  the  lateness  of  the  season,  which 
necessitates  that  any  attempt  to  enter  the  ice  must  be 
carried  out  without  delay,  I  have  decided  to  carry  on 
the  work  of  the  expedition,  adhering  as  nearly  as 
circumstances  permit  to  the  plans  as  most  recently 
expressed  by  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton. 

Consequently  ...  I  intend  pushing  to  the  east- 
ward to  a  position  dependent  upon  the  date  as  mark- 
ing the  advancement  of  the  season,  striking  south 
through  the  pack  ice,  and  making  an  attempt  to  reach 
the  Great  Ice  Barrier.  If  I  am  successful  in  this,  I 
will  turn  westwards  and  map  out,  as  far  as  possible, 
the  coastline  in  the  direction  of  Coats  Land,  but 
taking  steps  to  escape  before  the  ship  gets  frozen  in. 

There  are,  however,  certain  factors  which  may 
compel  me  to  use  my  discretion  in  altering  the  pro- 
gramme, as  follows  : 

I.  In  addition  to  the  defects  of  the  ship  already 
notified  to  you  by  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton,  compelling 
alterations  at  Lisbon,  St.  Vincent  and  Rio  de  Janeiro, 
during  this  last  stage  of  the  voyage  two  other  grave 
defects  were  discovered  :  a  crack  and  a  leak  in  the 
boiler  furnace,  and  a  leak  in  the  forward  water 
tank  which  almost  emptied  it.  On  arrival  here 
the  boiler  was  examined  by  Mr.  Kerr,  the  chief 
engineer  of  the  Quest,  and  by  engineers  from  the 
whaling  station.  After  careful  consideration  they 
have  decided  that  it  is  possible  to  go  forward,  and  Mr. 
Kerr  states  that  it  is  quite  reasonable  to  enter  the  ice 
under  the  conditions. 

Whilst  ashore,  I  took  the  opportunity  of  looking 
up  the  record  in  the  Norwegian  Record  of  Ships,  and 

Preparations  in  South  Georgia         79 

found  that  the  boiler  was  built  in  1890,  and  is  con- 
sequently 31  years  old,  a  fact  of  which  I  feel  quite 
sure  Sir  Ernest  was  ignorant.  .  .  .  From  the  time  the 
expedition  started  various  defects  of  the  engines  have 
appeared,  and  any  further  developments  in  this 
respect  may  entail  change  of  plan. 

2.  The  capability  of  the  Quest  to  deal  with  pack 
ice.  It  has  been  shown  during  the  voyage  that  she  is 
of  lower  engine  power  than  was  originally  expected, 
and  much  will  depend  upon  what  speed  and  driving 
power  she  can  maintain  in  the  ice. 

3.  The  lateness  of  the  season  limits  the  amount  of 
time  in  which  it  is  possible  to  operate  in  the  ice  pack. 

4.  Progress  will  depend  upon  conditions  which 
cannot  altogether  be  foreseen,  viz.  weather  conditions, 
and  the  depth  and  density  of  the  pack  ice  when  we 
encounter  it,  varying  greatly  as  it  does  from  year  to 
year.  ...  I  expect  to  leave  the  ice  towards  the  end 
of  March,  and  will  probably  return  to  this  island 
(South  Georgia)  or  the  Falkand  Islands  for  coal  and 
water.  .  .  . 

This  briefly  indicates  my  plan  and  the  outlook  at 
the  time  we  left  South  Georgia.  In  working  to  the 
eastward  I  intended  to  make  for  the  charted  position  of 
*'  Pagoda  Rock,"  and  verify  or  wash  out  its  existence; 
also,  if  possible,  I  wished  to  visit  Bouvet  Island. 

It  will  be  seen  that  throughout  this  projected  route 
we  should  have  the  winds  to  the  best  advantage,  for 
while  working  east  we  should  be  in  the  westerly  belt, 
which  extends  approximately  from  lat.  35°  S.  to  lat. 
60°  S.,  whilst  above  these  latitudes,  on  our  return,  we 
should  enter  the  belt  of  prevailing  easterly  winds. 



WE  left  Leith  Harbour  on  January  17th,  and  pro- 
ceeded along  the  coast  to  Cooper  Bay.  Douglas 
and  Carr  had  gone  there  some  days  before  to  carry  on 
their  geological  examination  of  the  island. 

On  arrival  we  found  that  they  had  set  up  a  tent  on 
the  beach  and  had  built  outside  it  a  fireplace  of  stones. 
For  fuel  they  used  driftwood,  which  lined  the  beach  in 
large  quantities.  Douglas  came  to  meet  us  in  the  kayak, 
a  small  skin-boat  which  had  been  presented  to  us  by 
Mr.  Jacobsen.  I  lowered  the  surf-boat  and  went  ashore. 
Both  Carr  and  he  looked  well,  being  very  sunburnt  and 
fatter  than  when  they  left  us.  A  meal  was  in  process 
of  preparation  in  the  fireplace,  and  when  I  saw  the  quan- 
tity of  food  they  were  about  to  dispose  of  I  felt  satisfied 
as  to  their  health  and  the  state  of  their  appetites. 

I  wanted  a  supply  of  fresh  meat  to  take  with  us  on 
the  ship,  for  although  we  had  no  refrigerator  on  board, 
there  was  no  fear  of  the  meat  going  bad  in  the  low 
temperatures  of  these  regions.  I  sent  Macklin  and  Marr 
to  catch  and  kill  a  dozen  penguins,  and  went  myself, 
with  Mcllroy,  to  shoot  some  skua  gulls.  I  intended 
taking  a  seal  also,  but  found  that  Douglas,  with  consider- 
able forethought,  had  already  killed  and  cut  one  up. 

The  day  was  bright,  with  warm  sunshine,  turning 
Cooper  Bay,  which  I  had  previously  visited  under  less 
favourable  circumstances,  into  a  beautiful  spot.     Sea- 





■          • 

sk.,>h    .-...rt     * 




"QUEST*  «,>.s.l9il 

ScaU    of  Yards 

■"MP    --:2> 



Photo:   Wilkins 






O  J 


Into  the  South  8i 

birds  of  all  sorts  covered  the  rocks  and  flew  overhead, 
filling  the  air  with  raucous  cries,  which  sounded,  how- 
ever, not  unpleasant,  fitting  the  wild  environment.  Seals 
and  sea-elephants  were  ashore  in  hundreds,  lying  lazily 
on  the  shingle  of  the  beach  or  in  the  hollows  of  the 
tussock  grass  behind.  Ringed  and  Gentoo  penguins 
strutted  solemnly  about  like  leisurely  old  gentlemen 
taking  the  sea  air.  On  the  hills  behind  were  large 
rookeries  where  these  quaint  birds  were  gathered 
together  in  thousands. 

I  had  no  difficulty  in  obtaining  the  necessary  number 
of  skua  gulls,  and  I  saw  that  Macklin  and  Marr  had 
made  a  little  heap  of  penguins  close  to  the  boat,  Macklin 
rejecting,  with  the  discriminating  care  of  one  whose 
staple  diet  they  have  formed  for  months,  the  old  tough 
birds  and  picking  out  the  young  and  tender.  Marr  was 
delighted  with  his  new  experiences,  being  particularly 
fascinated  with  these  almost  human  looking  little 

So  pleasant  was  the  day  that  I  was  loth  to  tear 
myself  away. 

We  returned  to  the  ship,  where  we  prepared  the  birds 
for  the  larder,  and  hung  them,  together  with  the  meat, 
from  the  mizen  boom,  the  poop  at  the  finish  resembling 
a  butcher's  shop. 

Green,  who  had  been  before  into  the  Antarctic  and 
had  wintered  with  me  on  Elephant  Island,  came  out  of 
his  galley  to  regard  with  a  professional  eye  this  new 
addition  to  his  larder.  I  asked  him  if  he  had  forgotten 
how  to  cook  seal  and  penguin  meat,  to  which  he  replied, 
"  Not  likely  !  If  I  was  to  live  to  be  a  hundred,  I  would 
not  forget  that." 

We  weighed  anchor  and  proceeded  to  Larsen  Har- 

82  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

hour,  which  is  approached  through  Drygalski  Fiord,  a 
long,  narrow  channel  situated  at  the  extreme  south- 
eastern end  of  South  Georgia.  The  entrance,  which  is 
very  picturesque,  lies  between  steep  and  high  mountains. 
As  one  nears  the  end  it  appears  as  if  one  is  about  to 
charge  a  steep  wall  of  snow-covered  rock,  but  suddenly 
the  little  opening  of  Larsen  Harbour  comes  into  view, 
and  one  enters  a  wonderful  little  basin  shut  in  on  all 
sides  by  steeply  rising  mountains  and  offering  a  secure 
anchorage  for  small  vessels.  Across  the  entrance  lies 
a  ledge  of  rocks  from  which  grows  a  belt  of  kelp,  where 
the  soundings  gave  a  depth  of  38  fathoms. 

Douglas  went  ashore  in  his  kayak  to  make  a 
geological  examination  of  the  place  and  bring  away 
some  specimens  of  rock. 

At  daybreak  on  January  i8th  we  made  our  final 
departure  from  South  Georgia,  setting  course  to  pass 
close  to  Clerk  Rocks.  Douglas  and  Carr  had  reported 
that  whilst  ascending  the  slopes  behind  Cooper  Bay  they 
had  seen  what  appeared  to  be  a  volcano  in  eruption. 
They  had  taken  a  rough  bearing  of  its  direction,  and 
from  their  description  generally  we  concluded  that  the 
site  of  the  phenomenon  could  only  have  been  Clerk 
Rocks.  I  was  anxious,  therefore,  to  visit  them ;  but  the 
day  unfortunately  turned  out  to  be  thick  and  misty,  and 
we  were  unable  to  get  a  good  view  of  them.  As  every 
day  was  now  a  matter  of  importance  to  us  in  our  attempt 
to  push  South,  I  did  not  delay  in  the  hope  that  we  might 
effect  a  landing.  From  observations  made  by  Worsley 
and  Jeffrey,  their  position  as  charted  seems  to  be  in- 
correct, but  as  the  thick  weather  prevented  accurate 
sight,  their  exact  position  cannot  be  definitely  given. 

We  were  now  about  to  undertake  the  most  difficult 

fhoto:  Reg.  Haines 


Photo:  Dr.  Macklin 

A      SMAI-L    BERG 

I' koto:  n  ilk  ins 


Into  the  South  83 

part  of  our  enterprise,  the  plans  of  which  I  have  indi- 
cated in  the  preceding  chapter. 

I  divided  up  the  hands  into  three  watches :  In 
my  own — Mcllroy,  Macklin  and  Carr;  in  Worsley's — 
Wilkins,  Douglas  and  Watts;  in  Jeffrey's — Dell, 
McLeod  and  Marr.  The  Boy  Scout  had  become  a  fine, 
handy  seaman,  and  developed  an  all-round  usefulness 
which  made  him  a  valuable  member  of  the  expedition. 
The  engineers,  Kerr  and  Smith,  kept  watch  and  watch 
about  in  spells  of  six  hours.  I  had  added,  in  the  person 
of  Ross,  to  their  staff  in  South  Georgia,  where  a  number 
of  Shetlanders  are  employed  at  the  flensing.  Young 
and  he  acted  as  firemen,  and  Argles  as  trimmer.  Green 
and  Naisbitt,  who  formed  the  galley  staff,  were,  of 
course,  exempt  from  watch  keeping. 

At  first  we  had  misty  weather,  and  soon  encountered 
a  heavy  swell  in  which  the  Quest  rolled  heavily.  We 
met  numerous  icebergs  travelling  in  a  north-easterly 
direction — beautiful  works  of  Nature  passing  slowly  to 
their  doom. 

Hundreds  of  sea-birds  tailed  in  our  wake,  including 
numbers  of  every  species  known  to  this  part  of  the 
world  :  albatross,  cape  pigeons,  whale  birds  and  every 
kind  of  petrel,  from  the  giant  "  Stinker  "  to  the  dainty, 
ubiquitous  Mother  Carey's  Chickens. 

Thursday,  January  19th,  broke  bright  and  clear. 
We  were  surrounded  on  all  sides  by  bergs,  those  in  sight 
numbering  more  than  a  hundred.  Many  of  them  were 
flat  topped,  evidently  pieces  which  had  recently  calved 
from  the  Great  Ice  Barrier  and  floated  out  to  sea.  Others 
were  more  irregular  in  shape,  with  pinnacles,  buttresses, 
and  caves  and  tunnels  through  which  the  water  rushed 
with   a  roar.    The  imaginative   could   see   in  them  a 

84  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

resemblance  to  all  sorts  of  things;  churches  with  spires, 
castles  with  heavy  ramparts,  steamships,  human  profiles, 
and  the  figures  of  every  conceiyable  kind  of  beast. 
Some  were  stained  with  red-coloured  mineral  deposits, 
blue  bottom-mud  and  yellow  and  brown  diatomaceous 
material.  A  few  sloped  towards  the  sea  at  such  an  angle 
as  to  enable  penguins,  all  of  them  of  the  ringed  variety, 
to  clamber  up.  Some  of  the  groups  of  penguins  thus 
formed  numbered  as  many  as  two  or  three  hundred. 

There  was  a  high  following  sea,  and  the  deeply 
laden  Quest  wallowed  in  it  heavily,  dipping  both  gun- 
wales and  filling  the  waist  with  water,  which  rushed  to 
and  fro  with  every  roll.  Smith  was  thrown  off  his  feet 
and  swept  violently  across  the  deck,  fetching  up  with 
considerable  force  against  the  lee  rail.  He  was  much 
bruised  and  shaken. 

During  the  day  a  number  of  soundings  were  taken 
with  the  Kelvin  apparatus,  but  no  bottom  was  found 
with  300  fathoms  of  wire. 

In  the  evening  Worsley  altered  course  to  look  at 
what  appeared  to  be  a  small  half-submerged  rock,  but  on 
approach  it  proved  to  be  a  heavily  stained  piece  of  ice. 

January  20th  was  another  fine  day.  I  saw  Marr  come 
on  deck  wearing  a  fur  cap,  heavy  sea-boots,  and  a  belt 
from  which  hung  a  ferocious-looking  sheath  knife.  The 
scrubby  promise  of  a  thick  beard  adorned  his  chin,  and 
I  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  associating  the  kilted  boy 
who  joined  us  in  London  with  this  tough-looking  sailor 
man.  If  Hussey  had  been  there  he  would  have  sung, 
"  If  only  my  mother  could  see  me  now !  "  Indeed,  I 
would  have  liked  to  have  had  for  a  short  while  the  use 
of  a  magic  carpet  and  been  able  to  transfer  him  exactly 
as  he  stood  to  the  bosom  of  his  family. 

Into  the  South  85 

Jeffrey,  who  had  been  confined  to  his  cabin  since 
leaving  Rio  de  Janeiro,  returned  to  duty  on  this  day. 

We  continued  to  pass  through  a  sea  filled  with  ice- 
bergs, which  in  the  sunshine  stood  out  white  and  glisten- 
ing against  the  blue-black  of  the  sea.  Worsley  saw  what 
looked  like  a  new  island  with  high  summit,  but  even  as 
he  pointed  it  out  a  breeze  flattened  off  its  top,  proving  it 
to  be  only  a  cloud.  These  little  rebuffs  on  the  part 
of  Nature  have  no  influence  upon  Worsley,  whose 
enthusiasm  is  unconquerable. 

In  the  afternoon  we  sighted  a  number  of  icebergs  in 
line,  and  a  few  minutes  later  Zavodovski  Island  showed 
up.  The  bergs  were  evidently  aground,  most  of  them 
having  a  distinct  tide-mark  and  showing  considerable 
wear  along  the  water-line.  As  we  drew  nearer  we  saw 
that  all  those  which  were  accessible  were  thickly  covered 
with  ringed  penguins,  which  showed  the  most  marked 
astonishment  at  our  approach.  There  were  many  also 
in  the  sea,  and  they  came  swimming  towards  us,  uttering 
their  familiar  "  CI  -  a-a  -  k  !  "  Some  of  the  bergs  were 
so  steep  that  we  wondered  how  the  penguins  ever 
managed  to  get  a  footing  on  them.  We  passed  one  with 
a  side  which  sloped  gradually  to  an  edge  some  twenty 
or  thirty  feet  above  water,  against  which  the  sea  broke 
heavily.  A  number  of  penguins  were  attempting  a  land- 
ing, and  we  watched  their  efforts  with  interest.  They 
took  advantage  of  the  swell  to  leap  out  whilst  the  sea 
was  at  its  highest,  often  to  fail  and  fall  back  with  a 
splash  into  the  wash  below;  but  they  sometimes 
succeeded  in  getting  a  footing  in  a  crack  in  the  ice. 
They  showed  the  greatest  agility  and  skill  in  clambering 
from  one  little  foothold  to  another,  and  their  attitude  of 
triumph  when  at  last  they  gained  the  gentler  slope  and 

86  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

waddled  off  to  join  their  companions  in  the  group  was 
most  amusing.  These  little  creatures  are  so  absurdly 
human  in  every  one  of  their  aspects  that  one  could  watch 
them  for  hours  without  tiring.  Those  of  the  party  who 
had  not  been  previously  in  Antarctic  regions  were  greatly 
fascinated  by  them  and  laughed  outright  at  their  quaint 

The  island  takes  its  name  from  Lieut.  Zavodovski, 
chief  officer  of  the  Vostok,  of  Bellingshausen's  Expe- 
dition, who  landed  in  1820.  It  is  barren  and  snow 
covered,  except  on  the  western  side,  which  presents  an 
unattractive  bare  surface  of  rock.  Bellingshausen 
described  this  bare  surface  as  being  warm  from  volcanic 
action,  and  says  that  the  penguins  found  it  an  attractive 
nesting-place.  On  that  occasion  the  island  presented 
the  appearance  of  an  active  volcano,  with  thick  clouds 
of  steam  belching  from  the  summit.  Owing  to  the  low- 
lying  mist  we  could  not  see  the  top  of  the  island,  and 
so  were  unable  to  gauge  accurately  the  height,  but  from 
general  contour  it  seemed  to  be  not  more  than  3,500 

The  coastline  presents  a  rugged  face  of  rock  broken 
here  and  there  by  glaciers  which  descend  from  the  slopes 
behind  to  finish  abruptly  above  narrow  beaches  of  black 
sand.  A  red  line  of  volcanic  staining  surrounds  the 
island.  Generally  speaking  it  is  inaccessible,  and  there 
are  no  good  bays  or  anchorages  for  a  ship.  There  are 
places  where  a  landing  could  be  effected  by  boat,  but  at 
no  time  would  it  be  easy,  for  the  rock  faces  rise  sheer 
from  the  sea  and  the  beaches  are  shut  off  from  the  island 
by  the  glaciers  behind  and  laterally  by  steep  cliffs. 
Nevertheless,  penguins  are  able  to  get  ashore.  On  the 
beaches  were  a  number  of  the  large  and  beautifully 

Into  the  South  87 

marked  king  penguins,  whilst  covering  the  slopes  behind 
were  whole  battalions  of  the  ringed  variety,  forming 
very  large  rookeries.  I  have  seen  larger  rookeries  than 
these  in  one  place  only — Macquarie  Island,  which  I 
visited  during  the  Mawson  Expedition.  There  one  can 
look  over  square  miles  and  never  see  a  piece  of  ground 
for  the  number  of  penguins  of  all  varieties  which  collect 

On  the  southern  side  of  Zavodovski  Island  are  a 
number  of  caves,  from  the  mouths  of  which  sulphurous 
fumes  were  issuing  in  a  thin  reddish  cloud.  We  could 
feel  their  effects  in  a  smarting  sensation  of  the  eyes, 
nose  and  throat.  It  was  noticed  that  the  penguins  did 
not  collect  round  the  caves,  but  gave  them  a  pretty 
wide  berth.  Larsen,  who  explored  this  group  in  the 
Undine  in  1908,  was  overcome  by  these  fumes  whilst 
attempting  to  land  on  this  island,  and  became  seriously 

We  made  a  running  survey  of  the  island  and  ob- 
tained a  number  of  soundings.     Before  leaving  I  took 
the  ship  close  to  a  berg  which  was  thickly  covered  with 
ringed  penguins  to  enable  Wilkins  to  get  some  cinema- 
tograph pictures.     To  stimulate  them  into  movement  I 
told  Jeffrey  to  fire  two  or  three  detonators.     The  loud 
reports  caused  the  utmost  consternation  amongst  them, 
and,  stretching  their  flippers,  they  rushed  en  masse  for 
the  lower  edge  of  the  berg.    Those  in  front  were  loth 
to  take  to  the  water,  which  is  not  surprising,  seeing  the 
difficulty  they  have  in  climbing  back*  again,  but  those 
behind  pressed  them  so  hard  that  they  were  forced  over 
into  the  sea,  and,  as  Kerr  facetiously  remarked,  "  It  was 
just  as  well  that  they  could  swim."     Their  attitude  of 
surprise  and  indignation  was  very  amusing. 

88  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

We  continued  (Saturday,  January  21st)  to  pass  in- 
numerable bergs.  The  sea  was  literally  filled  with  them. 
It  is  fortunate  that  in  these  latitudes  there  is  compara- 
tively little  darkness  at  this  time  of  the  year,  for  at  night 
these  bergs  form  the  most  unpleasant  of  companions  and 
necessitate  a  continuous  and  unremitting  look-out.  The 
long  swell  rushes  against  them  with  a  heavy  surge,  and 
a  collision  with  any  one  of  them  would  prove  a  nasty 
accident  from  which  we  would  not  be  likely  to  escape 
scot  free,  whilst  the  dislodgment  of  a  heavy  portion  on 
to  our  decks  could  have  nothing  but  the  most  disastrous 

The  Quest  rolled  like  a  log  and  the  seas  in  the  waist 
rushed  like  a  swollen  flood  from  side  to  side,  so  that  one 
rarely  passed  about  the  ship  without  a  wetting.  The 
water  foamed  over  the  tops  of  our  sea  boots  and  filled 
them  up.  This  was  particularly  annoying  when  going 
to  take  over  the  watch,  for  one  had  then  to  endure  the 
discomfort  of  four  hours  on  the  bridge  with  wet  feet, 
which  in  this  temperature  is  extremely  unpleasant. 

Before  leaving  England  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  had 
designed  a  weather-proof  bridge,  completely  enclosed, 
but  with  windows  which  could  be  opened  up  on  all  sides. 
Owing  to  the  strikes  which  occurred  before  our  start, 
skilled  labour  was  not  available,  and  the  work  done  in 
the  building  of  it  was  so  bad,  and  the  windows  and  doors 
were  so  ill-fitting,  that  it  was  quite  impossible  to  exclude 
draughts.  Except  that  it  was  to  some  extent  rain-  and 
snow-proof,  we  would  have  been  much  better  off  with  an 
open  bridge  protected  with  a  canvas  dodger.  There  was 
always  a  strong  draught  along  the  floor,  which  made  it 
very  hard  to  keep  the  feet  warm,  no  matter  how  well 
clothed  and  shod  we  might  be.    When  the  footgear 

Into  the  South  89 

became  wetted  the  difficulty  was  increased,  and  in  the 
long  night  watches  we  often  endured  agonies  from  this 

Macklin  reported  to  me  on  the  21st  that  there  were 
fifteen  inches  of  water  in  the  hold.  The  ship  had  always 
leaked,  but  hitherto  the  engine-room  pumps  had  been 
sufficient  to  keep  down  the  water.  I  instituted  a  daily 
pumping,  which,  as  the  hand  pump  was  situated  in  the 
waist  amidst  a  rush  of  water,  was  no  pleasant  task  for 
those  engaged  in  it. 

I  began  to  feel  my  responsibilities  now,  for  each  day 
made  it  more  abundantly  clear  to  me  that  this  trip  was 
to  be  anything  but  a  picnic  and  demonstrated  the  fact 
that  the  Quest  was  by  no  means  an  ideal  ship  for  the 
work.  Often  I  was  made  to  doubt  the  wisdom  of  the 
undertaking,  but,  having  put  my  hand  to  the  plough, 
there  was  to  be  no  turning  back. 

This  being  Saturday  night,  we  drank  the  time- 
honoured  toast  of  "  Sweethearts  and  Wives,"  to  which 
some  wag  always  added,  "  May  they  never  meet !  ''  On 
such  occasions  as  these  I  issued  to  each  man  who  wanted 
it  a  tot  of  whisky  or  rum.  Rum  was  generally  selected, 
as  being  the  stronger  drink. 

On  Monday,  January  23rd,  we  passed  close  to  two 
large  and  beautiful  bergs,  full  of  cracks  and  chasms, 
with  a  number  of  caves  of  the  deepest  blue  colour.  This 
appearance  of  blue  in  cavities  surrounded  by  colourless 
ice  is  a  phenomenon  for  which  physicists  have  not  yet 
offered  a  satisfactory  explanation. 

There  is  something  about  these  huge  bergs,  bucking 
and  swaying  in  the  long  heavy  swell,  which  always 
attracts.  One  wonders  at  their  age  and  where  they  have 
come  from.    It  is  a  pity  that  there  is  no  way  of  marking 

go  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

them.  Worsley,  ever  inventive,  and  never  at  a  loss  for 
a  suggestion,  proposes  firing  into  them  bombs  filled  with 
permanganate  of  potash,  or,  better  still,  to  have  rifles 
firing  small  projectiles,  by  which  one  could  mark  the 
date.    "  Why  not?  "  says  he. 

There  is  much  difference  of  opinion  regarding  the 
length  of  life  of  these  bergs,  some  saying  two  or  three 
years,  whilst  others  suggest  that  they  last  forty  or  more. 
Much  undoubtedly  depends  upon  their  movements.  A 
grounded  berg  is  likely  to  exist  for  a  long  time,  and  I 
have  seen  many,  marked  by  the  rise  and  fall  of  tide  and 
washed  by  the  action  of  the  sea,  which  had  obviously 
endured  for  many  years.  Those  which  do  not  go 
aground  drift  about  for  varying  periods  till  carried 
eventually  to  the  north;  they  meet  their  fate  amongst 
warm  currents,  which  leave  not  a  vestige  of  their 
original  selves.  A  berg  floats  with  about  seven-eighths 
of  its  bulk  below  water,  and  is  consequently  more 
susceptible  to  deep  than  to  surface  currents.  I  have 
often  seen  them  moving  through  pack  at  a  rate  of  two 
or  three  miles  an  hour,  brushing  aside  the  lighter  ice  in 
their  undeviating  progress.  In  open  water,  too,  I  have 
seen  them  moving  up  against  strong  winds  at  a  similar 

During  our  boat  journey  from  the  breaking-up 
pack  on  the  Endurance  expedition  we  nearly  came  to 
grief  from  this  cause,  a  large  berg  of  several  hundred 
yards  in  length  almost  jamming  us  against  a  line  of  floe 
ice,  and  requiring  all  our  efforts  to  pull  free. 

Worsley  met  with  a  slight  accident  on  the  23rd. 
While  passing  round  the  front  of  the  deck-house  he  was 
struck  by  the  forestay-sail  sheet  block,  and  was  hurled 
across  the  deck.    He  picked  himself  up,  with  blood  run- 

Into  the  South  91 

ning  freely  down  his  face,  but  the  intensity  of  his  impre- 
cations relieved  me  from  fear  of  a  bad  injury,  and, 
indeed,  on  examination  it  proved  to  be  slight.  He  felt 
a  little  hurt  when  someone  asked  him  if  he  could  not 
do  it  again  because  there  were  several  who  had  missed 
the  incident.     I  omit  his  reply. 

Our  daily  mileage  had  proved  disappointing  up  to 
this  point,  and  it  became  clear  to  me  that  we  could  not 
hope  to  reach  Bouvet  Island  and  still  be  in  time  to  enter 
the  ice  this  year.  The  coal  consumption  also  proved 
higher  than  I  had  anticipated.  I  decided,  therefore,  to 
make  a  more  southerly  course  to  meet  and  enter  the  ice 
in  a  position  somewhere  about  20°  E.  Long.  On  my 
westward  run  I  intended  to  cross  the  mouth  of  the  Wed- 
dell  Sea,  and  attempt  to  examine  and  sound  the  charted 
position  of  "  Ross's  Appearance  of  Land,"  probably 
call  at  Elephant  Island  to  obtain  sand  for  ballast  and 
blubber  for  fuel,  and  proceed  to  Deception  Island  for 
coal  for  the  return  to  South  Georgia. 

After  a  long  spell  of  bad  weather,  on  January  25th 
we  at  last  experienced  a  change  for  the  better,  the  day 
breaking  bright  and  clear,  the  water  a  deep  blue  and  the 
icebergs  a  dazzling  white.  The  sea  was  comparatively 
smooth,  and  the  Quest  behaved  moderately  well. 

I  seized  the  chance  to  get  on  with  an  amount  of 
work  which  had  been  difficult  during  the  bad  weather. 
Worsley,  Dell  and  Carr  overhauled  the  Lucas  sounding 
machine  and  fixed  a  roll  of  wire  all  ready  for  a  running 
out.  When  this  was  done,  I  set  Carr  to  blocking  some 
of  the  scupper  holes,  in  the  hope  of  keeping  a  drier  deck. 
Macklin,  assisted  by  Marr  and  Green,  spent  a  busy 
morning  in  squaring  up  the  hold,  and  there  was  work 
for  everyone  in  one  way  or  another.     Mcllroy  and  I 

92  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

baled   out  our  cabins   and   put   the   wet  gear  out   to 

The  ship  was  found  to  be  taking  more  water,  Macklin 
reporting  that  it  had  reached  the  level  of  the  kelson,  and 
I  had  to  institute  longer  spells  at  the  pumps,  each  taking 
from  one  and  a  half  to  two  hours  to  pump  her  dry. 

I  got  Mcllroy  to  cut  my  hair,  after  which  I  acted  as 
barber  for  him,  and  for  Kerr  and  Worsley  also.  They 
were  no  half  cuts,  but  good  convict  crops !  Wilkins, 
with  a  view  to  stimulating  the  laggard  hairs  on  his 
crown  to  more  active  growth,  shaved  the  top  of  his  head, 
and  looked  like  a  monk.  He  was  growing  a  beard,  as 
were  a  number  of  the  men.  McLeod's  was  the  most 
flourishing;  Dell  and  Macklin  each  showed  a  respect- 
able growth,  and  Kerr,  Smith,  Young,  Argles  and  Watts 
gave  a  promise  of  better  things.  Marr,  not  to  be  out- 
done, was  also  making  the  attempt,  but  so  far  could 
show  only  a  stubble,  which  gave  him  rather  a  ferocious 

In  the  afternoon  Worsley  took  a  sounding,  with  the 
unsought  assistance  of  all  the  men  on  board,  who 
crowded  round  with  a  great  willingness  to  help,  but 
who,  like  the  cooks  at  the  broth,  only  impeded  things. 
Four  miles  of  wire  were  reeled  out  without  finding 
bottom,  but,  this  being  the  first  time  we  had  used  the 
Lucas  machine  on  this  trip,  it  was  probably  incorrect. 
When  it  came  to  winding  up,  the  machine  ran  well,  but 
when  only  about  half  the  reel  had  been  taken  in  the 
wire  broke,  and  we  lost  the  sinkers  and  the  snapper 
(which   is  used   to  bring  up  specimens   from  the  sea 

^  On   leaving   South   Georgia,    I   had   moved   into   Sir   Ernest's  cabin,  and 

Mcllroy  took  my  old  one.     Both  cabins  opened  on  to  the  waist  of  the  ship,  and 

were  consequently  frequently  flooded  with  the  heavy  seas  which  rushed  to  and 
fro  there. 

Into  the  South  93 

bottom).  From  this  time  forward  Dell  took  charge  of 
the  sounding  machine,  and  under  his  management  it  ran 
without  a  hitch.  It  was  often  a  cold  and  tedious  job,  but 
he  took  the  greatest  interest  in  the  work,  and  enabled 
Worsley  to  get  some  excellent  results. 

Whilst  the  sounding  was  in  process  a  mass  of  pul- 
taceous  material  floated  past  the  ship,  some  of  which  we 
collected.  Macklin  examined  a  small  portion  of  it  under 
a  microscope,  and  reported  that  it  was  composed  of 
feathers  in  a  state  of  decomposition.  Its  occurrence  was 
hard  to  explain,  but  Wilkins  thought  it  may  have  come 
from  one  of  the  carnivorous  mammals  of  these  seas  :  a 
sea  leopard  or  a  killer,  which  had  swallowed  a  number 
of  penguins  or  other  birds,  and  afterwards  vomited  the 
indigestible  portions  of  them,  just  as  our  sledge  dogs 
used  to  vomit  bones  which  they  had  eaten. 

Naisbitt  asked  me  if  he  might  start  a  ship's  magazine, 
to  which  I  assented. 

I  saw  an  Antarctic  petrel,  the  first  I  had  seen  this 
trip.  The  presence  of  these  birds  usually  indicates 
proximity  of  ice. 

The  fine  weather  did  not  last  long,  for  the  next  day 
the  wind  and  seas  increased,  and  the  Quest  took  full 
advantage  of  the  excuse  to  behave  as  badly  as  ever. 
We  encountered  fewer  bergs,  but  were  never  out  of 
sight  of  them  altogether.  One  which  lay  two  or  three 
miles  to  starboard  had  a  very  peculiar  appearance, 
closely  resembling  a  sailing  ship  under  canvas.  Worsley 
examined  it  long  and  attentively  through  binoculars,  and 
exclaimed,  "  A  sailing  vessel !  "  I  cast  some  doubt  on 
the  probability,  but  after  a  second  look  he  cried 
excitedly,  "  It  is  a  sailing  vessel;  I  can  see  her  top- 
sail yard !     Let  us  go  and  talk  to  her !  "    A  gleam  of 

94  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

sunshine  lighting  upon  the  "  topsail  yard  "  dispelled  the 
illusion.  I  wonder  what  ship  he  expected  to  see  down 
there ! 

An  extract  from  Marr's  diary  on  this  date  gives  an 
interesting  sidelight : 

A  fairly  strong  sea  was  running  when  we  came  on 
deck  for  "  the  middle,"  but  this  did  not  deter  us  from 
our  usual  occupation  in  the  night  watches,  i.e.  the 
consumption  of  food  and  drink.  Indeed,  it  must 
appear  that  our  watch  is  very  hungry,  but  it  is  not  so. 
This  is  merely  our  very  effective  method  of  passing 
the  four  long  hours  on  the  bridge. 

It  was  customary  for  the  engine-room  staff  to  make 
a  hot  drink  once  a  watch.  The  galley  fire  was  always 
allowed  to  go  out  at  night  because  of  the  necessity  for 
economy  in  coal  consumption,  and  the  stokers  used  to 
boil  the  water  in  a  tin  on  the  furnace  fires.  The  result 
was  that  there  was  often  some  difficulty  in  diagnosing 
the  nature  of  the  concoction,  but  under  circumstances 
like  this  one  could  not  be  over  particular.  We  used  to 
turn  to  each  other,  saying :  "  Well,  at  any  rate  it  is  hot 
and  wet." 

We  had  two  casualties  on  January  30th.  Douglas, 
whilst  skipping  to  keep  himself  warm,  sprained  his 
ankle,  and  had  to  take  to  his  bunk.  Worsley  also  came 
to  grief  in  a  much  more  serious  way.  Shortly  after 
leaving  South  Georgia  I  had  instructed  Macklin  to  pro- 
vision each  of  our  three  boats  for  thirty  days.  As  the 
surf-boat  was  likely  to  be  in  frequent  use,  I  had  the 
provisions  moved  from  her  and  divided  equally  amongst 
the  port  and  starboard  life-boats,  the  total  in  each  weigh- 
ing not  less  than  a  quarter  of  a  ton.    I  decided  to  swing 




rhotos:  iytlKins 

Into  the  South  95 

the  port  life-boat  outboard  on  her  davits,  both  in  order 
to  have  her  the  more  ready  to  lower  away  and  to  give 
us  a  little  more  sorely  needed  space  on  the  bridge  deck. 
The  sea  was  smooth,  but  there  was  a  long  swell  running 
which  caused  the  Quest  to  give  an  occasional  heavy  roll. 
We  were  in  the  midst  of  proceedings,  and  I  had  got 
into  the  boat  the  better  to  direct  operations,  when  sud- 
denly a  guy  fixing  the  forward  davit  carried  away;  the 
heavily  laden  boat  took  charge,  swinging  inboard  and 
out  and  in  a  fore  and  aft  direction  with  the  swing  of  the 
unsecured  davits.  It  was  all  I  could  do  to  hold  on, 
for  I  had  been  steadying  myself  with  the  after  davit 
head,  which  now  swung  in  a  semicircle.  Many  times  I 
felt  as  if  I  must  be  flung  headlong  into  the  sea.  All 
hands  gathered  round  to  regain  control,  but  with  the 
strain  the  after  davit  guy  also  parted.  The  boat  swung 
aft,  sweeping  Wilkins  and  Macklin  off  the  bridge  deck 
on  to  the  poop,  where  they  met  with  no  damage,  and, 
surging  forward  again,  caught  Worsley  and  drove  him 
with  tremendous  force  against  the  after  wall  of  the 
bridge  house.  The  impact  was  heavy.  I  heard  a  cry 
and  a  crash  of  splintering  wood  as  the  wall  gave  way. 
I  felt  sure  Worsley  was  killed.  Mcllroy  immediately 
went  to  his  assistance,  whilst  the  rest  of  us,  after  an 
effort,  secured  the  boat  and  lowered  her  on  to  the  skids 

Worsley  appeared  at  first  to  be  terribly  damaged. 
His  face  turned  a  deathly  grey  and  was  covered  with 
perspiration,  and  he  could  scarcely  breathe.  We  carried 
him  to  his  cabin,  where  the  surgeons  made  a  careful 
examination.  He  had  sustained  severe  damage  to  his 
chest  and  broken  a  number  of  ribs.  His  whole  body 
was  covered   with  bruises  and  abrasions,  and  he  was 

96  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

suffering  severely  from  shock.  The  doctors  reported 
his  condition  as  serious,  but  thought  that  the  outlook 
was  favourable  unless  signs  of  internal  haemorrhage 
appeared.  It  was  a  great  relief  to  feel  that  I  had  with 
me  as  surgeons  two  reliable  and  experienced  men. 
Worsley  had  undoubtedly  to  thank  the  workmen  who 
had  this  particular  job  in  hand  for  his  life,  for  had  the 
bridge  house  been  of  more  solid  workmanship  and  shown 
greater  resistance  to  the  impact,  he  must  infallibly  have 
been  crushed  to  death. 

On  this  same  day  we  reached  the  charted  position  of 
Pagoda  Rock.  It  was  first  reported  by  Lieut.  T.  E.  L. 
Moore,  in  the  Pagoda,  in  1845,  in  the  following  words  : 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day  (Thursday), 
January  30th,  1845,  we  fell  in  with  a  most  singular 
rock,  or  rock  on  an  iceberg.  It  appeared  to  be  a  mass 
of  rock  about  1,600  tons,  and  the  top  was  covered  with 
ice,  and  did  not  appear  to  have  any  visible  motion, 
with  a  heavy  sea  beating  over  it.  It  had  a  tide  mark 
round  it.  We  tried  for  soundings  with  200  fathoms, 
and  the  first  time  we  fancied  we  had  struck  the 
ground,  but  before  we  could  try  again  we  had  drifted 
some  distance  off.  We  could  not  send  a  boat  or  beat 
the  ship  up  against  the  breeze  that  was  then  blowing. 

In  our  position,  lat.  60°  11'  S.  and  4^  47'  E.  long., 
however,  there  was  no  sign  of  it,  though  we  made  a 
traversing  cruise,  and  a  sounding  which  showed  a  depth, 
of  2,980  fathoms  gave  no  indication  of  shoaling  in  the 

It  is  rather  remarkable,  however,  that  towards  even- 
ing we  sow  a  very  curious-looking  berg,  very  dark  green 
in  colour  and  heavily  stained  with  some  earthy  material. 


Photos  :  Dr.  Macklin 

Into  the  South  97 

We  altered  course  to  pass  close  to  it,  and  examined  it 
carefully.  It  was  an  old,  weather-beaten  berg  which 
had  evidently  capsized.  Our  meeting  with  it  in  this 
particular  spot  was  a  curious  coincidence. 

On  the  first  day  of  February  the  maiden  number  of 
Expedition  Topics  appeared  under  the  editorship  of 
Naisbitt.  It  was  got  up  simply,  consisting  of  a  number 
of  sheets  of  typewritten  matter,  chiefly  on  the  humorous 
side,  and  containing  a  sly  hit  at  most  of  the  company. 
There  were  also  some  clever  drawings.  Like  every- 
thing else  that  created  an  interest  it  was  of  value  just 
then  when  the  daily  life  in  those  cold  grey  stormy  seas 
was  necessarily  very  monotonous. 

On  February  2nd  we  had  a  strong  gale  from  the 
south-east,  during  which  I  was  compelled  to  take  in  sail 
and  heave  to — very  disappointing,  as  we  needed  every 
mile  we  could  make  to  the  eastward.  The  Quest  be- 
haved in  the  liveliest  possible  manner,  and  everything 
that  was  not  tightly  lashed  took  charge.  A  bookcase  in 
my  cabin  had  battens  three  inches  wide  placed  along 
the  shelves,  but  they  proved  useless  to  keep  in  place 
the  books,  which  hurled  themselves  to  the  floor,  where 
they  were  much  damaged  by  the  seas  which  found  their 
way  in  and  swished  up  and  down  with  every  roll. 

On  deck  everything  had  been  lashed  up  and  tightly 
secured,  but  in  the  galley  pots  and  pans  took  charge  and 
defied  all  Green's  efforts  to  make  them  remain  on  the 
stove.  All  kinds  of  utensils  escaped  into  "  Gubbins 
Alley,"  where  they  were  carried  up  and  down  by  the 
wash  of  water,  whilst  Green  splashed  knee  deep  in  pur- 
suit. As  he  recovered  one  lot  so  another  leapt  away, 
regardless  of  his  imprecations,  till,  some  helpers  coming 
along,  order  was  once  more  restored. 

98  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Naisbitt,  whose  work  compelled  him  to  pass  fre- 
quently between  the  wardroom  and  the  galley,  often  with 
both  hands  full,  had  a  very  trying  time.  At  meals  we 
had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  keeping  things  on  the  table, 
and  we  had  to  hold  plates,  cups,  etc.,  in  our  hands, 
balancing  them  against  the  roll  of  the  ship.  We  had  to 
abandon  all  idea  of  comfort  and  wait  patiently  till  the 
rage  of  the  elements  should  abate. 

During  this  time  of  bad  weather  Worsley  suffered 
very  much,  for,  with  the  violent  rolling,  he  could  get 
no  rest  in  his  bunk.  He  improved,  however ;  the  doctors 
pronounced  him  out  of  danger,  and  he  spoke  of  soon 
getting  up. 

Macklin  reported  another  fifteen  inches  of  water  in 
the  hold — it  was  obvious  that  it  would  be  necessary  to 
increase  the  daily  spells  of  pumping.  All  hands  took 
to  this  unpleasant  and  monotonous  job  very  cheerfully, 
saying  that  it  was  good  exercise !  Indeed,  there  is  not 
much  else  that  can  be  said  for  it. 

In  lat.  65°  7'  S.  and  15°  21'  E.  long,  we  entered,  on 
February  4th,  what  appeared  to  be  the  edge  of  very  open 
pack,  which  lay  in  several  strips  and  bands  of  light, 
loosely  packed  ice,  with  large  open  spaces  of  water 
between.  I  made  my  course  due  south  and  pushed 
into  it.  For  some  time  I  had  doubts  as  to  whether 
it  was  the  real  pack  or  streamers  carried  north  by  the 
late  south-easterly  gale.  The  sky  to  the  south  was  very 
indefinite,  and  from  the  crow's  nest  the  same  conditions 
of  loose  ice  and  open  water  extended  as  far  as  the  eye 
could  reach.  The  two  "  signs  "  which  one  looks  for  in 
the  sky  are  "  ice-blink  "  and  "  water  sky."  A  sky  with 
ice-blink  presents  near  the  horizon  a  hard  white  appear- 
ance which  indicates  the  proximity  of  close  pack,  ice 

Into  the  South  99 

barrier,  or  snow-covered  land.  A  "  water  sky  "  is  a 
dark  patch  in  a  lighter  sky,  which  indicates  open  water 
below  the  horizon.  In  each  case  when  these  skies  are 
well  marked  they  are  definitely  of  value,  but  it  requires 
much  experience  to  gauge  accurately  the  meaning  of 
some  of  the  more  indefinite  appearances,  and  conclusions 
too  hastily  drawn  often  prove  erroneous. 

Whilst  we  were  at  sea  I  had  watched  the  petrels 
which  followed  in  our  wake  attempting  to  come  to  rest 
on  the  water,  but  breaking  seas  always  drove  them  up 
again.  I  was  interested  to  note  that  as  soon  as  we 
reached  the  pack  they  flew  forward  and  came  to  rest 
on  a  piece  of  ice,  where  they  preened  their  feathers  and 
settled  down  on  their  breasts. 

The  ice  had  a  wonderfully  settling  effect  upon  the 
sea,  deadening  all  but  the  heavier  swells.  The  Quest 
became  more  comfortable  than  she  had  been  for  a  long 
time,  and  at  lunch  we  dispensed  with  the  fiddles.  This 
she  would  not  tolerate,  and  a  sudden  roll  swept  every- 
thing to  the  floor.  Later  in  the  day  the  belts  of  ice 
became  broader  and  the  pools  of  water  much  smaller. 
There  could  be  no  doubt  that  this  was  the  real  pack  ice 
and  that  the  most  strenuous  part  of  our  work  was  now 
to  begin.     Quoting  from  a  diary  : 

Now  the  little  Quest  can  really  try  her  mettle. 
What  is  in  store  for  us.?  Will  the  pack,  as  variable 
in  its  moods  as  the  open  sea,  prove  friendly  or  will  it 
rise  in  its  wrath  to  punish  man's  temerity  in  thus 
bringing  to  the  attack  so  small  a  craft.?  Before  this 
effort  the  smallest  ship  to  make  a  serious  attempt  to 
penetrate  the  heavy  Antarctic  pack  was  the  Endure 
ance,  and  she  lies  crushed  and  broken  many  fathoms 

100  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

deep  in  the  Weddell  Sea.  We  are  but  half  her  size  ! 
Shall  we  escape,  or  will  the  Quest  go  to  join  the  ships 
in  Davy  Jones's  Locker,  and  the  queer  deep-sea  fish 
nose  about  amongst  her  broken  spars?  We  are  not 
in  the  least  pessimistic,  but  the  man  who  blinds  himself 
to  the  possibility  is  a  fool. 

My  sense  of  responsibility  was  growing  daily,  for 
though  I  always  welcomed  the  suggestions  of  my  senior 
officers  I  realized  that  on  me  alone  must  devolve  the 
final  decision  in  every  plan  and  in  every  movement.  This 
was  my  fifth  expedition — nearly  half  my  life  has  been 
spent  in  Antarctic  exploration — and  every  accumulated 
year  of  experience  has  taught  me  more  and  more  how 
much  in  this  work  we  are  the  playthings  of  chance.  Ex- 
perience counts  a  great  deal,  of  course,  but  no  amount 
of  experience,  care  or  skill  can  be  of  much  avail  against 
prolonged  and  overwhelming  pressure.  Yet  in  those 
first  days  in  the  ice,  as  I  stood  on  the  bridge  and 
looked  down  on  the  decks  I  saw  amongst  my  men 
nothing  but  elation.  Carr,  Douglas  and  others  who 
saw  the  ice  for  the  first  time  were  fascinated  by  it,  and 
amongst  the  old  hands  there  was  obvious  pleasure  at 
again  meeting  the  pack.  Old  McLeod,  veteran  of  many 
expeditions,  said  to  Mcllroy  :  ''  Here  we  are  home  again  ! 
Doesn't  it  do  you  good  to  get  back  !  "  Even  Query  was 
affected  with  the  general  air  of  uplift,  and  with  paws  on 
gunwale  gazed  with  twitching  nostrils  at  this  new  pheno- 
menon. Nor  could  I  long  resist  a  similar  feeling,  for 
as  I  gazed  south  over  the  ice,  with  the  cold,  keen  air 
in  my  nostrils,  I,  too,  felt  pleased  and  elated,  glad  of  a 
tough  problem  to  tackle  and  rejoicing  in  the  long 




/     ■ ' 

/     »■ 



/  (■ 



1  ft 
























Into  the  South  loi 

We  soon  began  to  meet  old  acquaintances  in  the 
form  of  crab-eater  seals  which,  wakened  from  sleep  on 
the  floe,  turned  a  curious  eye  in  our  direction  and, 
scratching  themselves  the  while  with  their  queer  hand- 
like flippers,  pondered  drowsily  on  the  strange  pheno- 
menon which  had  come  amongst  them.  Most  of  them 
seemed  satisfied  with  their  scrutiny,  treating  us  as  of  no 
particular  importance,  and  rolled  over  to  sleep  again.  With 
their  light  silvery  coats  these  are  the  most  elegant  of  the 
southern  seals  and  also  the  most  active.  They  are  char- 
acteristic of  the  pack,  being  found  in  large  numbers 
about  its  free  edge,  where  they  obtain  their  living  from 
the  small  Crustacea  of  these  regions,  eufhausice  and 
amphipods.  These  small  creatures  live  on  the  diatoms 
of  which  the  Antarctic  seas  are  so  rich,  and  which  often 
become  embedded  in  the  floe  ice,  which  is  stained  brown 
or  greenish-brown  by  their  presence.  Eufhausice  re- 
semble small  shrimps,  and  the  amphipods  are  very  like 
the  sandhoppers  of  home  beaches,  but  redder  in  colour. 
Whalers  speak  of  them  collectively  as  whale  food,  for 
they  form  the  staple  diet  not  only  of  the  crab-eaters  but 
of  most  of  the  Antarctic  whales.  It  is  an  extraordinary 
thing  that  so  large  an  animal  as  the  whale  should  depend 
for  its  existence  upon  so  small  a  creature,  especially 
when  one  considers  the  millions  necessary  to  make  one 
meal.  The  side  of  natural  history  which  interests  me 
most  is  the  consideration  of  animal  habits,  mode  of  life 
and  source  of  food.  There  is  something  intensely  fas- 
cinating about  this  study,  but  I  confess  to  a  lack  of 
enthusiasm  when  it  comes  to  a  question  of  minute  differ- 
ences in  structure  and  classification  of  species. 

The  ordinary  whale  has  a  gullet  so  small  that  one 
can  scarcely  pass  one's  fist  into  it,  and  no  whale  could 

102  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

certainly   ever   have    swallowed   Jonah.      The   animal 
referred  to  in  the   Bible  story  is  no  doubt  the   Orca 
gladiator,  which,  though  commonly  known  as  the  Killer 
whale,  differs  considerably  in  many  features  from  the 
true  whale.     It  is  much  better  referred  to  by  the  name 
Killer  only.     It  is  smaller  than  the  larger  varieties  of 
true  whale,  but  it  has  immense  jaws  and  a  wide  gullet, 
and  lives  not  on  whale  food  but  on  seals  and  penguins, 
and  it  is  conceivable  that  it  has  on  occasions  accom- 
modated a  man ;  though  whether  it  ever  let  one  go  again 
is  a  different  matter.     The  killer  is  certainly  an  evil- 
looking  monster.     Before  we  had  entered  deeply  into 
the  pack  we  saw  numbers  of  them  gliding  about  us, 
driven  smoothly  forward  by  almost  imperceptible  move- 
ments of  their  powerful  flukes,  the  downward  strokes  of 
which  produce  small  whirlpools  on  the  surface  of  the 
water.      One  could  mark  their  progress  by  watching 
these  whirlpools.     Every  now  and  then  they  rise  to 
breathe,  for  they  are  not  fish  but  mammals,  and  exhale 
a  spout  of  fine  vapour  which  in  the  distance  looks  like 
water.     It  is  dangerous  to  cross  leads  of  young  ice  whilst 
killers  are  about,  for  they  are  able  by  charging  upwards 
from  below  to  break  through  considerable  thicknesses 
with  their  heads.     The  round  holes  produced  in  this  way 
are  quite  common,  and  one  frequently  sees  their  evil 
heads  and  wicked  little  eyes  appear  suddenly  above  the 
surface,  scattering  fragments  of  ice  in  a  wide  circle. 
When  sledging  along  newly  frozen  leads,  it  is  customary 
to  keep  close  in  to  solid  ice,  and  when  a  crossing  is 
necessary  it  is  made  as  rapidly  as  possible. 

By  February  5th  there  was  a  certain  amount  of  day- 
light all  night,  and  we  were  not  held  up  on  account  of 
darkness.     The  ice  had  increased  all  the  time  in  density 

Into  the  South  103 

and  thickness,  and  at  times  it  was  all  we  could  do  to 
push  ahead.  Already  I  began  to  feel  the  need  of  greater 
engine  power,  though  the  small  size  of  the  ship  made 
her  very  handy  to  manoeuvre,  and  we  were  able  to  dodge 
and  squeeze  past  where  a  bigger  ship  would  require  to 
push  and  ram.  For  the  man  at  the  wheel  the  spell  was  no 
longer  two  hours  of  monotony,  but  a  period  of  hard  work 
for  which  he  shed  his  bulky  garments,  finding  all  the 
warmth  he  required  in  the  exercise  entailed.  It  was 
only  when  we  entered  the  leads  that  we  could  keep  a 
steady  course,  and  usually  the  commands,  "  Port ! 
Steady !  Starboard !  "  etc.,  followed  each  other  in 
rapid  succession  as  we  turned  and  twisted  and  wriggled 
our  way  ahead. 

Worsley  appeared  again  to-day.  This  evergreen 
youth  of  fifty  years  certainly  made  a  rapid  recovery,  for 
I  did  not  think  when  I  saw  him  after  his  accident  that 
he  would  be  up  so  soon.  Although  a  very  good  patient, 
he  chafed  so  much  at  his  confinement  to  bed  that  Macklin 
thought  it  better  to  let  him  out  of  his  bunk,  taking,  how- 
ever, the  precaution  to  strap  and  bandage  his  injured 
parts  in  such  a  way  that  he  could  not  do  himself  much 
harm,  and  was  unable  to  make  any  attempt  to  climb  aloft 
— which  is  the  first  thing  he  would  have  wished  to  do ! 
He  was  keenly  anxious  to  take  his  watch,  and  I  must 
confess  I  was  looking  forward  to  his  return  to  duty,  for 
Jeffrey  and  I  had  been  doing  "  watch  and  watch " 
alternately,  and  I  had  to  be  frequently  on  deck  during 
my  watch  below,  which  under  the  arduous  circumstances 
was  a  heavy  strain. 

I  kept  a  keen  look  out  for  a  convenient  floe  with  seals 
on  it,  for  I  was  anxious  to  obtain  fresh  meat.  Our  food 
stores  included  an  ample  and  varied  supply  of  all  foods, 

104  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

with  the  exception  of  meat,  lor  which  we  were  prepared 
"  to  live  on  the  country."  Seal  meat  is  quite  palatable 
when  one  is  used  to  it,  and  has  the  advantage  over  tinned 
stuff  of  being  fresh.  It  is  also  a  valuable  antiscorbutic, 
and  I  was  relying  on  its  regular  consumption  to  prevent 
the  onset  of  scurvy. 

Sighting  a  good  solid  floe  with  three  seals  on  it,  I  put 
the  ship  alongside  and  shot  them  all  with  my  heavy  rifle. 
I  went  over  on  to  the  floe  with  Macklin  to  bleed  them, 
which  done,  they  were  hoisted  aboard,  and  Mcllroy, 
Dell  and  Macklin  flensed  and  cut  them  up.  The 
blubber  went  to  the  bunkers  to  eke  out  our  supply  of 
coal.  Practically  the  whole  of  the  meat  of  the  seal  can 
be  used  for  eating;  whilst  the  liver,  kidneys  and  heart 
make  very  dainty  fare.  Fried  seal's  brain  is  a  dish  that 
can  hardly  be  excelled  anywhere  in  the  world.  The 
seal's  brain  is  large  and  well  developed,  and  when  shoot- 
ing these  animals  I  always  make  a  point  of  aiming  at  the 
neck  just  behind  the  skull  so  as  not  to  spoil  the  brain 
for  cooking.  There  is  quite  an  art  in  removing  the  brain, 
and  the  heads  were  usually  handed  over  to  Macklin 
and  Mcllroy,  who  took  them  out  complete  and  unbroken. 
Whilst  the  flensing  was  going  forward  Worsley  seized 
the  opportunity  to  take  a  sounding,  finding  it  lat.  66° 
12'  S.  and  16°  21'  E.  long.,  2,330  fathoms  of  water. 

On  February  6th  we  continued  pushing  on  through 
fairly  heavy  pack.  Often  the  Quest  was  brought  to  a 
stop  by  heavy  pieces  of  ice  across  her  bows,  which  she 
was  powerless  to  move  or  break  up.  When  this  occurred 
we  backed  down  the  lane  formed  in  our  wake,  where  her 
short  length  usually  enabled  her  to  turn,  and  getting 
her  nose  inserted  between  two  floes,  we  pushed  ahead 
with  all  the  power  the  engines  could  give  us  till  she 

Into  the  South  105 

finally  worried  through.  So  tar  we  had  not  been  held 
up  for  any  considerable  time. 

Macklin  reported  another  fifteen  inches  of  water  in 
the  hold,  requiring  an  extra  spell  at  the  pumps  to  clear. 
There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  continual  bumping  and 
jarring  of  the  ship  against  the  ice  caused  a  starting  of 
the  timbers  which  had  then  no  chance  to  settle  and  swell. 

Everybody  was  in  wonderful  health  and  spirits,  and 
appetites  were  keen.  For  lunch  on  that  day  we  had 
the  seal  brains  taken  the  day  before ;  they  were  delicious. 
All  hands  took  to  the  seal  meat,  with  the  exception  of 
Jeffrey  and  Carr.  Carr  tasted  it  and  said  that  it  pro- 
duced a  sickly  feeling,  but  with  the  former  it  was  a  case 
of  pure  prejudice,  for  he  would  not  even  taste  it,  and  pre- 
ferred to  live  on  what  else  might  be  going.  Stefansson, 
in  his  books,  dilates  upon  the  theory  that  men  who  m 
their  normal  lives  have  been  used  to  all  sorts  and  varieties 
of  food  take  more  readily  to  kinds  which  they  are  ex- 
periencing for  the  first  time  than  those  whose  dietary 
has  been  more  monotonous  and  composed  of  much  the 
same  thing  day  after  day  and  week  after  week.  That 
this  is  very  true  there  can  be  no  doubt,  but  it  does  not 
hold  in  the  case  of  Jeffrey  and  Carr,  for  out  of  the  whole 
party  I  doubt  if  there  was  anyone  more  used  to  the 
highly  faked  and  varied  dishes  which  the  modern  chef 
succeeds  in  producing.  Hunger  is  a  wonderful  sauce 
and  will  break  down  most  prejudices.  Those  of  us  who 
accompanied  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  on  his  previous  ex- 
pedition lived  entirely  on  seal  and  penguin  meat  for 
eleven  months,  and  except  that  we  were  thin  at  the  time 
of  rescue  as  a  result  of  not  having  enough  of  it,  we  were 
otherwise  healthy  and  fit  and  had  no  sign  of  scurvy. 

Stefansson,  in  speaking  of  scurvy,  attributes  his  free- 

io6  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

dom  from  it  to  eating  his  meat  raw  or  "  rare  done,"  and 
states  definitely  that  this  is  the  secret  of  preventing  and 
curing  scurvy,  whatever  the  food  may  be.  On  the  occa- 
sion to  which  I  have  referred  we  always  cooked  our  meat, 
except  when  circumstances  or  the  exigencies  of  the 
moment  did  not  permit  of  it  and  when  we  were  short 
of  fuel. 

Nature  has  providentially  arranged  that  most  of  the 
animals  of  south  polar  regions,  for  example  the  seals, 
provide  in  addition  to  meat  the  fuel  necessary  to  cook  it 
in  the  form  of  blubber.  It  is  true  that  the  use  of  heat  in 
cooking  meat  does  very  slightly  destroy  the  antiscorbutic 
principle,  but  when  the  consumption  is  sufficiently  large 
this  factor  can  be  neglected.  Much  depends  upon  the 
method  of  cooking,  for  a  more  thorough  investigation  of 
the  subject  shows  that  the  detrimental  influence  is  not 
heat  but  oxidization.  It  is  also  stated  that  scurvy  may 
be  cured  by  eating  meat  which  has  gone  bad.  It  is  pos- 
sible that  a  few  isolated  cases  may  have  recovered  in  spite 
of  the  additional  intoxication,  but  this  teaching  must  be 
regarded  as  a  most  dangerous  one.  The  subject  is  one 
of  the  greatest  importance  to  explorers,  for  scurvy  has 
caused  the  failure  of  many  well-found  expeditions.  I 
cannot  enter  more  fully  into  it  here.  The  investigation 
of  scurvy  and  other  food  deficiency  diseases  is  at  present 
occupying  the  minds  of  the  medical  profession,  much 
new  knowledge  is  being  brought  to  light,  and  it  is  prob- 
able that  the  next  few  years  will  show  great  advances. 
I  am  greatly  opposed  to  the  making  of  generalizations 
based  upon  one  or  two  isolated  observations  by  writers 
with  little  or  no  knowledge  of  the  fundamental  facts; 
they  are  of  little  value  for  guidance  and  are  apt  to 
prove  misleading. 

Into  the  South  107 

Query  was  in  great  spirits  at  this  time,  never 
having  been  in  better  condition  since  we  left  England; 
his  coat  was  thick  and  bushy,  and  his  tail  made  a  fine 
brush.  He  was  really  a  most  handsome  dog.  He  be- 
came a  thorough  ship's  dog,  and  climbed  all  over  the 
place.  Wilkins  fixed  a  camera  case  to  the  front  of  the 
deck-house,  and  Query  discovered  uia  it  a  way  to 
the  top.  So  delighted  was  he  with  his  new  discovery 
that  he  ran  up  and  down  just  for  the  joy  of  doing  it. 
All  day  long  he  pestered  one  to  play  with  him,  bringing 
in  his  mouth  a  stick  or  tin  or  a  lump  of  coal,  or  even  a 
potato  looted  from  the  galley,  which  he  wished  thrown 
for  him  to  fetch.  Of  this  game  he  never  tired,  and  no 
matter  where  one  threw  the  object,  he  searched  until  it 
was  found,  when  he  brought  it  back,  calling  one's  atten- 
tion to  the  fact  by  a  short  bark  or  a  dig  in  the  calves  with 
his  nose. 

Another  game  which  he  was  very  fond  of  was  to 
drop  things  from  the  deck-house  on  to  the  head  of 
someone  standing  below,  whose  share  in  the  game  was 
to  return  the  thing  dropped  so  that  he  could  do  it  again. 
He  was  greatly  excited  by  a  seal  which  followed  the 
ship  and  whenever  we  were  stopped  by  floes  rose 
high  out  of  the  water  alongside  us  as  though  trying  to 
come  aboard.  Possibly  it  regarded  us  as  a  strangely 
elusive  and  inaccessible  piece  of  land.  Up  to  now  we 
had  not  seen  any  penguins  in  the  pack. 

On  coming  on  deck  at  4.0  a.m.  on  February  7th  I 
discovered  that  during  Jeffrey's  watch  the  ship  had 
entered  a  cul-de-sac  and  that  further  progress  was  im- 
possible. From  the  crow's  nest  I  could  see  nothing  but 
dense  pack  stretching  away  to  the  southward  as  far  as 
the  eye  could  reach,  with  no  sign  of  a  water  sky  beyond 

io8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

it.  To  the  east  and  west  the  same  conditions  prevailed, 
and  there  was  no  hope  of  working  the  ship  in  any 
direction  except  that  in  which  we  had  come.  I  therefore 
decided  to  stay  where  we  were  for  a  day  (lat.  67°  40'  S. 
and  17^  6^  E.  long),  and  if  there  was  no  sign  of  opening 
of  the  ice  at  the  end  of  that  time  to  retrace  my  steps 
and  look  for  open  leads  farther  to  the  west. 

There  were  a  number  of  seals  within  reach  which  I 
determined  to  collect,  and  so  putting  the  ship  alongside 
a  suitable  floe  I  sent  off  some  of  the  men  to  kill  and  bring 
them  aboard.  They  secured  nine  altogether,  far  more 
than  we  required  for  meat,  but  I  wanted  the  blubber 
to  help  out  the  coal  supply.  We  took  for  the  larder, 
therefore,  only  the  dainties,  such  as  the  brains, 
kidneys,  livers  and  hearts,  and  the  choicest  pieces  of 
flesh,  which  are  the  undercuts  from  the  inside  of  the 

We  saw  that  day  the  first  emperor  penguin  of  the  trip 
standing  solitary,  as  is  the  wont  of  this  species,  upon  a 
floe.  Wilkins  secured  it  as  a  specimen.  The  emperors 
are  the  most  stately  of  all  the  penguins  and  have  the 
finest  markings.  The  king  penguin  is  more  brightly 
coloured,  but  the  emperor  has  the  more  delicate  shades 
which  merge  gradually  into  one  another.  Seen  on  the 
floe  in  bright  sunshiiie  they  have  a  really  beautiful 

If  approached  slowly  they  make  no  attempt  to  run 
away,  but  may  even  take  a  few  sedate  steps  forward  to 
meet  the  stranger.  When  within  a  few  paces  they  stop 
and  commonly  make  a  profound  bow,  just  as  if  they  were 
greeting  one's  arrival.  If  approached  quickly  and  sud- 
denly they  take  alarm  and  retire,  first  of  all  upon  their 
feet;  but  if  hustled  they  drop  upon  their  bellies  and 

Photo  :  Dr.  Macklin 




Photos:  Dr.   Ma:klin 

Into  the  South  109     4 

using  both  feet  and  flippers,  sledge  themselves  along  at 
a  considerable  speed.  Seen  from  behind  they  look  like 
gigantic  beetles,  and  there  is  something  about  this  mode 
of  progression  which  is  provocative  of  laughter.  I  have 
noticed  this  when  I  have  been  showing  pictures  upon  the 
cinema  screen,  the  audience  invariably  breaking  into 
laughter  when  it  occurs. 

This  species  is  found  only  in  the  far  south,  and  has 
i  the  peculiarity  of  nesting  during  the  winter.  The  term 
*  "  nesting  "  may  be  misleading,  for  they  do  not  make  any 
nests  but  lay  their  egg  (only  one  egg  is  laid  by  each  bird) 
upon  the  snow  surface.  Both  male  and  female  birds 
take  turns  in  hatching  out.  They  have  a  small  depres- 
sion on  the  foot  into  which  the  egg  is  wriggled  by  means 
of  the  beak.  They  are  able  to  move  about  carrying  the 
egg,  and  as  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  used  to  say,  "  they 
act  both  as  a  cradle  and  a  perambulator."  When  they 
wish  to  transfer  the  egg  from  one  to  another  they  stand 
belly  to  belly  and  indulge  in  a  vast  amount  of  wriggling ; 
but  in  the  process  the  egg  is  often  dropped  on  to  the  ice 
and  has  to  be  wriggled  on  again  from  there.  Two  of 
the  most  marked  characteristics  of  penguins  are  their 
patience  and  tenacity  of  purpose,  both  of  which  are 

A  few  days  before  we  entered  the  cul-de-sac  Dell 
killed  the  South  Georgia  pig  which  was  presented  to 
us  by  Mr.  Hansen,  of  Leith  Harbour.  It  proved  excel- 
lent eating  and  a  pleasant  change  from  seal  meat.  The 
head  remained,  and  as  it  would  make  a  meal  for  only 
one  of  the  messes,  we  agreed  to  gamble  to  decide  which 
should  have  it.  Kerr  was  deputed  to  represent  us,  but 
lost  to  the  after-mess.  Even  such  small  incidents  as  this 
attracted  an  interest  just  then. 

no  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

A  sounding  taken  on  this  day  (February  7th)  showed 
2,356  fathoms  in  position  lat.  67°  40'  S.  and  17°  6'  E. 

At  5.0  A.M.  on  the  following  day  the  ice  had  shown 
no  signs  of  opening,  so  I  decided  to  turn  back  and  look 
for  a  more  open  route  to  the  east  or  west.  We  steamed 
north  until  noon,  when,  not  caring  to  expend  coal  in 
going  away  from  our  objective,  I  gave  orders  to  reduce 
steam,  and  proceeded  under  sail.  The  wind  was 
southerly  and  of  moderate  strength.  I  gathered  in  this 
way  some  idea  of  what  ice  navigation  meant  in  the  days 
before  the  introduction  of  the  steam  engine.  Progress, 
in  spite  of  favourable  winds,  was  slow,  but  I  was  sur- 
prised at  the  effect  of  a  long-continued  steady  pressure 
against  floes,  some  of  them  of  quite  considerable  weight. 
They  gave  way  slowly  before  our  bows,  and  the  Quest 
slipped  of  her  own  will  (for  she  would  not  answer  her 
helm)  into  the  cracks  between  them  and  slowly  wedged 
her  way  through. 

We  were  now  so  deep  in  the  pack  that  there  was  no 
appreciable  swell,  and  the  Quest  was  consequently 
steady.  I  continued  the  operation  which  we  had  been 
compelled  to  give  up  before,  and  swung  out  the  port 
life-boat,  Worsley  being  a  spectator  only.  This  time 
there  was  no  accident. 

Worsley  now  started  to  go  on  the  bridge  and  keep  a 
watch,  though  of  course  he  was  compelled  to  take  things 
very  quietly,  at  any  rate  in  so  far  as  his  movements  were 
concerned.  Quiet  in  other  respects  his  watch  certainly 
was  not,  for  members  of  it  carried  on  long-continued, 
and  often  argumentative,  dialogues,  usually  at  the  top 
of  their  voices.  This  was  especially  the  case  with  one 
of  them,  and  many  times  I  have  leapt  on  deck  with  a 

Into  the  South  iii 

sense  of  impending  danger,  wakened  by  shouting  that 
proved  to  be  the  most  trivial  of  remarks. 

The  weather  was  fair  during  the  day,  with  a  moder- 
ate southerly  wind,  no  sunshine,  and  occasional  snow 
squalls.  At  7.30  p.m.  we  had  made  thirty-five  miles  to 
the  northward.  This  was  all  to  the  bad  and  a  bit  dis- 
appointing. However,  we  hoped  for  a  change  before 
long.  Seals  appeared  on  the  floe  in  quantity  during 
the  day  and  also  a  number  of  emperor  penguins  stand- 
ing, as  usual,  stately  and  alone. 

Killers  were  about  and  a  large  number  of  birds — 
Antarctic  petrels,  Wilson's  petrels,  and  a  few  pretty  pure 
white  snow  petrels. 

During  the  night  (February  9th)  our  luck  changed 
and  we  were  able  to  make  southerly  again.  Through- 
out the  morning  we  met  loose  pack  and  a  number  of 
leads  of  open  water,  so  that  by  12.0  noon  we  were  only 
eleven  miles  north  of  the  previous  position.  We  had 
the  same  conditions  till  4.0  p.m.,  when  we  met  with  dense 
pack.  From  the  crow's  nest,  however,  I  saw  "  water 
sky  "  to  the  southward  and  determined  to  push  on  to 
the  utmost  ability  of  the  ship.  We  progressed  very 
slowly  and  only  with  the  greatest  difficulty.  It  took 
much  hard  steaming  and  consumption  of  valuable  coal 
for  the  Quest  to  make  any  impression  on  this  heavy  floe. 

The  evening  of  this  day  was  fine,  beautiful  and  still, 
the  sort  that  takes  hold  of  one  and  sends  mind  and 
memory  wandering  far  afield.  There  was  not  a  ripple 
on  the  small  pools  between  the  floes,  in  which  were 
numbers  of  small  eufhausice  swimming  about.  Four  or 
five  seals  came  about  the  ship  and  accompanied  us, 
rubbing  themselves  against  the  sides  and  popping  their 
heads  out  to  regard  us  with  large  eyes  of  a  beautiful  soft 

112  ShackIeton*s  Last  Voyage 

brown  colour.  They  were  evidently  in  a  playful  mood. 
On  the  ice  seals  are  sluggish  and  very  helpless,  but  in 
the  water  they  are  wonderful,  and  their  swimming  move- 
ments are  most  graceful  as  they  dart  about  twisting  and 
turning  and  occasionally  rising  to  look  round. 

Killers  were  about  earlier  in  the  day,  but  no  penguins. 
An  ugly-looking  sea-leopard  put  his  head  out  of  the 
water  and  gazed  malignantly  over  the  edge  of  the  floe. 
In  a  pool  at  some  distance  from  the  ship  I  caught  sight 
of  a  black  mass  rising  and  falling,  and  through  my 
binoculars  witnessed  what  appeared  to  be  a  fight  between 
two  sea-leopards.  One  of  them  leapt  continually  from 
the  water  to  a  height  of  some  six  feet,  and  the  water  was 
churned  to  a  mass  of  foam.  Suddenly  it  all  ceased. 
What  tragedy  was  enacted  on  that  perfect  evening  ?  On 
such  a  night,  amidst  the  pure  whiteness  of  one's  sur- 
roundings, it  was  hard  to  realize  that  in  the  struggle 
for  existence  the  unrelenting  laws  of  Nature  must 

We  passed  close  alongside  a  floe  with  a  seal  on  it. 
I  shot  it;  Macklin  jumped  off  on  to  the  floe  and  made 
fast  a  line,  scarcely  taking  time  to  stop  we  hauled  it 
aboard  and  proceeded  on  our  way.  Looking  back  I  saw 
the  surface  of  the  snow  smirched  with  its  blood.  So 
Man  passed  leaving  a  red  stain;  and  yet  but  a  few 
moments  before  I  had  been  moralizing  on  "  Nature  red 
in  tooth  and  claw." 

Very  few  birds  were  about,  with  the  exception  of 
snow  petrels,  a  few  Antarctic  petrels  and  a  single  young 
Dominican  gull. 

We  were  pushing  on,  but  the  prospect  at  the  moment 
was  not  promising.  From  aloft  there  was  nothing  to  be 
seen  but  ice  closely  packed  and  stretching  as  far  as  the 




Photes:  Wilkins 





ii^^  *'^^X,mZ2jt>^^i 

Photos:  Dr.  Macklin 

IN    THE    PACK    ICE 

Into  the  South  113 

eye  could  reach  in  all  directions.  I  distrust  fine  weather 
in  the  pack;  it  usually  means  lowered  temperature,  close 
ice  and  little  open  water. 

February  loth  opened  as  a  beautiful  morning,  with 
bright  sunshine.  The  ice  was  white  and  sparkling  and 
the  water  a  deep  blue.  The  air  was  keen  and  crisp,  and 
all  hands  revelled  in  the  improved  weather  conditions. 
Less  so  myself,  however,  for  I  feared  what  was  por- 
tended. I  prefer  damp  misty  weather  in  the  pack,  for 
that  means  the  presence  of  a  considerable  amount  of 
open  water  amongst  the  ice  and  better  conditions  for 
navigating,  in  spite  of  poor  visibility. 

The  number  of  seals  that  accompanied  us  increased 
to  twenty  or  more.  They  refused  to  leave  us,  though 
they  occasionally  took  fright  and  dashed  off  with  a  swirl 
of  water.  Seen  from  aloft  a  school  of  seals  is  a  wonder- 
ful sight.  There  was  evidently  something  on  the  ship's 
side  which  had  an  attraction  for  them,  for  they  seized 
the  chance  of  every  stop  to  rise  out  of  the  water  and 
nibble  at  frozen  pieces  of  ice  which  had  formed  just 
above  the  water-line.  The  ice  on  the  patent  anchors 
which  projected  from  the  hawse  holes  two  or  three  feet 
above  the  surface  especially  attracted  them,  and  they 
collected  in  clusters  of  five  or  six  to  nibble  at  it. 

In  the  early  morning  the  pack  was  composed  of 
dense,  heavy  old  floes,  much  broken  up  and  bearing  the 
remains  of  pressure  ridges  through  which  progress  was 
very  slow.  At  7.30  a.m.  we  entered  a  lead  with  surface 
just  freezing  over,  which  offered  little  resistance  to  the 
ship.  It  was  literally  full  of  killers,  which  crossed  and 
recrossed  our  bows  and  "  blew  "  all  about  us.  Our  seal 
friends  did  not  accompany  us  into  the  lead,  for  which 
the  presence  of  the  killers  was  no  doubt  a  good  and 

114  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

sufficient  reason.  The  crab-eaters  seem  to  have  no  fear 
of  them  whilst  in  closely  set  pack  with  only  small  pools 
of  water  between  the  floes,  but  one  rarely  sees  crab-eaters 
in  larger  stretches  of  water.  Occasionally  they  have  been 
seen  in  large  numbers  travelling  at  high  speed.  Hurley, 
the  photographer  of  the  last  expedition,  was  able  to  get 
a  photographic  record  of  them  passing  close  to  the  ship, 
the  number  being  so  great  that  the  surface  of  the  water 
was  lashed  to  foam.  That  they  are  hunted  by  the  killers 
is  beyond  doubt,  for  one  frequently  sees  them  shoot  out 
of  water  and  land  with  a  heavy  wallop  on  a  piece  of  ice, 
look  all  round  and  bump  themselves  violently  along, 
finally  disappearing  with  a  dive  into  the  water  again. 
This  differs  largely  from  their  ordinary  method  of  land- 
ing when  they  wish  to  rest.  In  this  case  they  may  be 
seen  first  of  all  rising  high  out  of  the  water  and  looking 
over  the  edge  of  the  floe,  obviously  noting  its  nature, 
and  searching  for  a  shelter  from  the  wind.  They  land 
with  the  same  heavy  flop,  but  show  none  of  the  excite- 
ment when  up. 

On  one  occasion  at  my  base  in  Queen  Mary's 
Land  during  the  Mawson  Expedition  I  was  stand- 
ing on  an  ice  foot  with  Mr.  Harrison,  my  biologist, 
when  I  saw  a  killer  actually  attack  a  seal  which, 
however,  escaped  and  effected  a  landing  on  the  ice 
foot.  It  was  bleeding  profusely  and  was  in  a  very 
exhausted  condition.  On  close  examination  we  found 
six  large  wounds,  all  of  which  had  penetrated  the  blubber 
to  the  flesh,  none  of  them  less  than  three  inches  deep. 
At  first  I  was  inclined  to  put  the  animal  out  of  its  misery, 
but  my  biologist  asked  me  to  let  it  remain  so  that  we 
might  see  whether  or  not  it  would  recover.  It  lost  an 
amazing  amount  of  blood,  which  melted  its  way  into  the 



Into  the  South  115 

ice  beneath,  but  on  the  fourth  day  it  had  recovered 
sufficiently  to  enter  the  sea  again.  Nearly  all  seals  bear 
the  scars  of  old  wounds  in  vertical  strokes  down  their 
sides.  Wilkins  collected  a  number  of  skins  in  which 
these  scars  were  more  extensive  than  usual,  and  prepared 
them  for  sending  back  as  specimens  to  the  British 

The  water  in  the  hold  had  increased  so  much  by  now 
that  it  required  four  hours  of  hard  pumping  to  reduce. 
It  was  hard,  monotonous  work. 

In  the  afternoon  we  encountered  the  first  Adelie 
penguin  which  we  had  seen  on  this  expedition.  It  was 
standing  alone  on  a  flat  piece  of  floe,  and  at  sight  of  us 
evinced  the  most  marked  surprise,  looking  at  us  first  with 
one  eye  and  then  the  other,  and  finally  started  towards 
us  at  a  run.  Its  waddling  gait  resembled  that  of  a  fat 
old  white-waistcoated  gentleman  in  a  desperate  hurry. 
Many  times  it  fell  forward,  but,  picking  itself  up,  hurried 
on  till,  reaching  the  edge  of  the  floe,  it  tumbled  rather 
than  dived  into  the  water.  In  a  few  seconds  it  shot  out, 
to  alight  upright  upon  another  floe  where  it  continued 
the  chase,  but  by  this  time  we  were  drawing  away  and 
he  gave  it  up,  uttering  a  last  "  Cl-a-a-k,"  as  much  as  to 
say,  '*  Well,  I'm  jiggered  !  "  Later  we  saw  many  more 
who  showed  the  same  interest,  some  of  them  taking  to 
the  water  and  coming  about  the  ship  or  following  in 
our  wake. 

We  entered  a  broad  belt  of  large  flat  pieces  of  one- 
year-old  floe  interspersed  with  thinner  new  ice  which  the 
Quest  was  able  to  crack,  although  it  usually  required 
several  blows  to  split  it  widely  enough  to  let  her  through. 

Following  on  this  we  entered  a  broad  lead  of  open 
water,  but  about   10  p.m.  encountered  very  thick  and 

ii6  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

solid  floe.  Owing  to  the  dim  light  it  was  impossible  to 
distinguish  rotten  mushy  ice  which  we  could  safely  ram 
from  solid  pieces  which  badly  jarred  the  ship.  About 
midnight  I  lay  to  till  more  light  should  give  me  a  chance 
to  get  a  better  view  from  the  mast  head. 

We  obtained  a  sounding  of  2,163  fathoms  in  position 
lat.  68°  3'  S.  and  16°  12'  E.  long.,  and  as  soon  as  the 
light  improved  we  set  off  again  and  spent  the  whole 
of  February  nth  energetically  pushing  south.  The 
temperature  fell  rapidly,  reaching  18°  F.  at  midnight. 
All  the  open  water  started  freezing  over  and  was  covered 
with  a  skin  of  ice  which  offered  little  resistance  to  the 
ship  when  she  was  well  under  way,  but  impeded  her 
considerably  when  in  the  dense  pack  she  was  forced  to 
be  continually  stopping  and  restarting  again. 

As  far  as  the  actual  weather  was  concerned  the  Ant- 
arctic can  offer  nothing  better  than  that  which  we  were 
experiencing,  fine  and  clear,  the  air  crisp  and  cold,  yet 
not  sufficiently  so  to  be  unpleasant.  As  the  sun  sloped 
down  to  the  horizon  with  the  gentle  decline  it  takes  in 
these  latitudes,  in  contrast  to  the  suddenness  with  which 
it  disappears  in  the  tropics,  we  had  a  beautiful  long 
sunset,  the  sky  taking  the  most  wonderful  colours, 
crimson,  amber  and  gold.  The  snow  surface  was  a 
lovely  pale  pink  except  where  each  hummock  threw  a 
long  black  shadow.  The  surface  of  the  newly  freezing 
parts,  still  and  polished,  reflected  a  pale  green.  Across 
the  vault  of  the  sky  were  little  fleecy  rolls  of  pink  cloud, 
while  nearer  the  horizon  were  heavier  banks  of  a  deep 
crimson.  Stretching  away  behind  in  an  ever-narrowing 
ribbon  one  saw  the  lane  cut  by  the  passage  of  the  ship 
disturbed  only  in  the  foreground  by  the  ripple  of  the 
screw.     In  contrast  to  the  vivid  colouring  ahead  that 

Into  the  South  117 

astern  had  the  black  and  white  effect  of  a  pencil  sketch. 
A  perfectly  wonderful  evening  and  yet — timeo  Danaos 
— I  do  not  like  the  pack  when  it  smiles.  The  prospect 
was  not  good.  I  knew  that  unless  we  got  a  rise  of 
temperature  things  might  be  bad  for  us,  for  it  would  be 
quite  impossible  to  forge  through  the  thickening  ice, 
which  had  the  effect  of  cementing  together  the  heavier 
floes  so  that  a  much  more  powerful  ship  than  the  Quest 
would  have  been  quite  unable  to  make  any  impression 
upon  them. 

There  was  one  thing  I  knew  I  must  avoid.     The 
Quest  was  not  suitable  for  "  freezing  in."     Her  shape 
was  not  such  as  would  cause  her  to  rise  with  lateral  pres- 
sure, and  it  was  almost  certain  that  should  she  become 
involved  in  any  of  the  heavy  disturbances  which  fre- 
quently occur  she  was  not  likely  to  survive.     The  hazard 
of  a  boat  journey  was  not  likely  to  meet  with  the  same 
fortunate  ending  that  we  experienced  in  the  Endurance 
expedition,  where  our  escape  was  indeed  a  miraculous 
one.     Nearly  all  our  special  winter  equipment  was  at 
Cape  Town,  which  was  to  have  been  our  base  of  opera- 
tions.    But  weighing  even  more  than  these  factors  was  T 
another  on  which  one  can  only  briefly  touch  :  in  spite  of  f. 
a  solid  nucleus  of  old,  tried  Antarctic  men,  and  others          ] 
of  proved  worth  in  different  fields,  there  was  a  discordant          / 
element  in  the  personnel  which  I  was  anxious  to  adjust         1 
before  I  exposed  the  party  to  the  trials  and  vicissitudes         | 
of  a  polar  winter.                                                                          r 

During  the  afternoon  Worsley  took  a  sounding,  find- 
ing in  lat.  68°  52'  S.  and  16°  55'  E.  long,  a  depth  of 
1,555  fathoms,  which  showed  a  shoaling  of  608  fathoms 
in  49  miles  of  southing.  The  snapper  contained  a 
specimen  of  grey  mud  which  was  handed  to  the  geologist. 


ii8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

I  had  no  rest  during  the  night,  for  I  realized  that 
on  the  next  few  hours  hung  the  fate  of  this  effort. 
Unless  the  temperature  rose  and  the  ice  showed  signs 
of  loosening  it  would  be  necessary  to  turn  back,  little 
though  I  liked  the  prospect.  I  was  in  the  crow's  nest  the 
moment  that  the  dim  midnight  light  began  to  improve, 
searching  all  round  the  horizon  with  binoculars.  Every- 
where the  ice  lay  tightly  packed  and  solid.  Mcllroy 
reported  a  further  drop  of  two  degrees  Fahrenheit.  The 
filmy,  freezing  surface  of  the  leads  had  become  definitely 
frozen  over,  so  that  there  was  not  a  drop  of  water  to  be 
seen  anywhere.  Even  to  the  northward  the  outlook  was 
bad,  and  I  began  to  fear  that  after  all  we  might  be  beset. 
That  we  could  push  no  farther  into  the  heavy  ice  was 
certain.  I  decided  to  remain  where  I  was  for  the  day, 
but  longer  than  that  would  be  fatal  unless  a  change 
occurred  in  the  meantime.  I  manoeuvred  the  ship  to  a 
large  solid  floe  to  enable  the  scientists  to  take  their 
instruments  over  the  side,  and  give  all  hands  a  chance 
of  exercise  after  the  cramping  spell  of  shipboard.  Near 
by  a  fat  Weddell  seal  lay  asleep.  I  shot  it,  and  Mcllroy 
and  Macklin  skinned  it  and  took  the  blubber  to  the 
bunkers.  Carr,  with  the  assistance  of  Marr,  Naisbitt 
and  Argles,  brought  in  some  ice  for  use  as  drinking 

Sea  ice,  although  salt,  has  the  peculiar  property  that 
if  piled  up  for  two  or  three  days,  either  naturally  as 
pressure  ridges  or  artificially  by  heaping  up  a  number 
of  frozen  slabs,  the  salt  leaves  the  upper  pieces,  which 
can  be  melted  down  and  freely  used  as  drinking  water. 
Physicists  have  not  been  able  to  explain  fully  the  pheno- 
menon. It  is,  however,  an  easily  demonstrable  fact, 
and  it  is  by  this  property  of  the  ice  alone  that  ships  have 

Photo:   ll'ilkifis- 

IN    THE    PACK 

Into  the  South 



been  able  to  winter  in  the  pack.  In  the  height  of  summer, 
when  the  sun  beats  down  strongly  upon  the  ice,  pools  of 
water  form  on  the  surface  of  the  floes.  They  are  fresh 
and  can  be  used  for  drinking.  It  is  necessary,  however, 
if  water  is  being  taken  from  this  source,  to  see  that  the 
floe  is  a  good  solid  one,  not  "  rotted  "  underneath,  in 

The  track  of  the  Quest  as  compared  with  the  tracks  of  Biscoe  and 

which  case  it  may  be  brackish.  During  some  of  our 
marches  over  the  ice  of  the  Weddell  Sea  after  the  loss 
of  the  Endurance  the  going  was  very  bad  and  the  work 
tremendously  hard  on  account  of  soft  snow,  which  let 
the  men  down  to  the  hips  and  the  dogs  to  their  bellies, 
and  we  suffered  severely  from  thirst.  When  we  encoun- 
tered any  of  these  pools  they  were  freely  used  by  men 
and  dogs  for  drinking,  and  we  never  noticed  any  salty 


120  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

The  eating  of  snow  is  bad;  of  this  there  can  be  no 
doubt,  though  I  have  seen  it  stated  in  the  writings  of 
some  explorers  that  it  is  quite  suitable  for  quenching 
thirst,  and  all  that  is  necessary  is  to  overcome  the  pre- 
judice against  its  use.  The  eating  of  a  little  snow  is 
harmless,  but  if  one  indulges  in  the  practice  for  a  long 
time  the  mouth  becomes  very  dry  due  to  the  paralysing 
effect  of  cold  on  the  salivary  glands.  The  result 
is  that  more  and  more  of  it  is  required  and  the  dry- 
ness of  the  mouth  is  intensified.  Any  weak  spots 
which  may  have  developed  in  the  teeth  are  at  once  dis- 
covered, with  consequent  severe  facial  neuralgia.  The 
swallowing  of  the  scarcely  melted  water  tends  to  upset 
digestion,  as  is  well  seen  in  the  United  States  of 
America,  where  the  frequent  taking  of  iced  drinks  is 
a  national  practice  and  dyspepsia  is  the  national  com- 
plaint. This  is  not  a  theoretical  observation,  for  as  an 
enthusiastic  young  man  in  my  early  days  of  exploration 
I  made  the  experiment  to  my  sorrow,  and  I  have  noted 
the  effects  upon  other  members  of  the  different  expedi- 
tions which  have  entered  these  regions. 

Worsley,  with  the  assistance  of  Dell  and  Watts,  took 
a  sounding,  finding  bottom  at  1,089  fathoms  in  lat.  69° 
17'  S.  and  17°  9'  E.  long.  This  showed  a  shoaling  of 
466  fathoms  in  twenty-nine  miles,  and  certainly  indi- 
cated the  approach  to  the  continental  shelf.  Once  again 
I  climbed  to  the  crow's  nest  and  scanned  the  horizon  to 
the  south.  The  sky  in  that  direction  had  a  hard  white 
look  such  as  one  would  get  over  snow-covered  land,  but 
is  also  seen  over  densely  packed  ice.  I  felt  sure  that  if 
we  could  only  work  our  way  for  another  fifty  miles  to 
the  south  we  should  sight  or  find  indications  of  land,  but 
no  ship  ever  built  could  possibly  have  pushed  through 

Into  the  South  121 

the  ice  to  the  south  of  us,  not  even  the  most  powerful 

Of  animal  and  bird  life  there  was  very  little,  but 
though  if  present  they  would  have  been  additional 
evidence  in  favour  of  the  proximity  of  land,  their  absence 
did  not  necessarily  negative  it. 

Looking  backwards  to  the  north  I  saw  that  the  ice 
in  that  direction,  though  less  dense  than  that  to  the 
south,  was  settling  firm  and  hard,  and  I  decided  that 
as  soon  as  the  scientific  staff  had  completed  their  observa- 
tions I  must  beat  a  hasty  and  energetic  retreat. 

Few  people  can  realize  what  an  effort  it  had  been  to 
force  the  little  Qztest  to  this  position.  It  was  hard  to 
have  to  turn  back.  It  was  necessary,  however,  to  make 
every  effort  to  escape  this  freeze  up,  but  once  in  loose 
pack  I  was  determined  to  seize  the  first  chance  to  push 
south  again. 



AT  about  4.0  P.M.  on  February  12th,  having  come 
to  my  decision,  I  blew  the  steam  whistle  for  the 
recall  of  all  hands,  who  had  thoroughly  enjoyed  their 
day  on  the  ice.  Query  had  had  a  splendid  time  in  spite 
of  having  once  or  twice  fallen  through  mushy  holes  into 
freezing  water,  and  he  came  back  to  the  ship  thoroughly 
tired  from  the  unwonted  exercise. 

We  had  some  difficulty  in  getting  under  way,  but 
once  the  ship  had  gathered  momentum  she  was  able  to 
push  on  through  the  new  ice.  Navigation  required  the 
utmost  watchfulness  and  care;  we  could  not  afford  to 
delay,  for  minutes  totalled  up,  and  the  ice  was  increasing 
hourly  in  thickness.  Every  stop  added  to  the  difficulties 
of  getting  under  way  again.  I  must  pay  a  high  tribute 
to  the  unremitting  energy  and  unfailing  resource  of 
Worsley  and  Jeffrey  at  this  critical  period  as  we  forced 
our  way  from  the  closing  grip  of  the  pack.  Macklin 
writes  in  his  diary  : 

The  way  in  which  the  Quest  is  made  to  push  ahead 
and  to  dodge  and  wriggle  past  the  most  awkward 
places  is  wonderful.  Kerr  is  excelling  himself  below 
— I  hope  he  does  not  bust  her  up,  for  these  engines 
have  given  at  one  time  and  another  a  lot  of  trouble. 
It  is  interesting  to  compare  the  different  watches  at 
work.     Commander  Wild  goes  about  the  job  quietly 



F kotos  :  IVilkins 



Photos:  lV,lki„s 

The  Ice  123 

and  steadily,  without  fuss  or  shouting,  and  un- 
doubtedly makes  the  best  headway.  Old  Wuzzles 
(Worsley)  also  goes  ahead  energetically,  but  to  an 
accompaniment  of  noise  that  might  waken  the  dead, 
for  which,  perhaps,  he  is  less  responsible  than  some 
members  of  his  watch.  Jeffrey  also  makes  surpris- 
ingly good  headway,  with  a  running  commentary 
usually  the  reverse  of  complimentary  on  all  things 

I  was  wakened  at  4.0  on  the  following  morning 
by  McLeod,  who  shouted  in  at  my  door,  "  One  bell  and 
the  ship's  afire !  "  In  a  moment  I  was  out  of  bed  and 
on  deck,  to  find  dense  smoke  and  flame  ascending  from 
what  appeared  to  be  the  engine-room  skylight.  Rushing 
to  the  engine-room  door,  I  was  met  by  Smith,  who  said 
that  everything  was  all  right  below.  The  flames  were 
leaping  up  alongside  the  funnel.  I  went  up  on  to  the 
bridge  and  shouted  to  the  other  members  of  my  watch 
who  had  turned  out  to  get  Pyrene  extinguishers,  of  which 
we  kept  a  number  always  on  hand.  We  squirted  their 
contents  vigorously  into  the  midst  of  the  flames,  and 
soon  had  them  subdued,  when  I  discovered  that  the 
cause  of  the  trouble  lay  in  some  cork  fenders  and  coils 
of  tarry  rope  which  had  been  placed  against  the  funnel 
on  the  previous  day.  The  flames  had  spread  to  two  large 
wooden  sidelight  boards  and  to  some  canvas  gear.  Our 
portable  hand-sounding  machine  was  also  involved,  and 
was,  unfortunately,  rendered  almost  useless.  The  fire, 
while  it  lasted,  was  a  brisk  one,  and  had  we  been  com- 
pelled to  rely  on  the  old  hose  system  for  its  extinction 
there  is  no  doubt  that  it  would  have  proved  serious.  The 
rapidity  with  which  we  were  able  to  control  it  speaks 

124  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

much  for  the  efficacy  of  the  extinguishers  in  use,  which 
were  of  the  carbon-dioxide  producing  type. 

Having  leapt  straight  from  our  bunks,  we  were 
exceedingly  lightly  clothed,  and,  now  that  the  excite- 
ment was  over,  we  noticed  the  cold  atmosphere  and 
scampered  off  to  garb  ourselves  more  warmly. 

We  continued  vigorously  pushing  north  all  day. 
Numerous  crab-eater  seals  were  seen,  many  of  them  on 
our  direct  route ;  but  although  I  was  anxious  to  lay  in  a 
store  of  their  blubber  I  did  not  stop.  We  saw  also  a 
number  of  emperor  penguins.  Bird  life,  as  I  have 
said,  had  been  very  scarce,  and  represented  only  by 
snow  petrels,  a  number  of  which,  outlined  in  silvery 
whiteness  against  the  blue  of  the  sky  as  they  passed 
overhead  on  their  way  south,  presented  a  very  beautiful 

In  the  evening  we  passed  by  a  floe  on  which  five 
large  seals  lay  asleep,  and  I  determined  to  stop  for  a 
short  time  and  take  them  up.  There  is  no  difficulty  in 
killing  and  obtaining  any  number  of  Antarctic  seals,  no 
matter  how  small  the  floe  they  are  on,  provided  one 
approaches  them  quietly  and  gets  within  a  range  at  which 
they  can  be  picked  off  rapidly  and  with  certainty  one 
after  the  other.  On  this  occasion  I  gave  the  word  to 
withhold  fire  till  we  were  close  alongside,  but  Douglas, 
apparently  unable  to  restrain  his  impetuosity,  fired  too 
soon  and  succeeded  in  wounding  one,  which  heaved  itself 
about  frantically  and  startled  the  others  to  sudden  wake- 
fulness. To  make  matters  worse,  Douglas  continued 
firing,  and  some  of  them  dived  into  the  sea.  It  is  a 
characteristic  of  these  seals  that  if  wounded  they  prefer 
to  be  on  a  floe,  and  all  but  one  came  back  again,  when 
they  were  properly  dispatched  and  hoisted  aboard  for 

The  Ice  125 

removal  of  their  blubber.  The  moment  they  were  aboard 
I  set  off  again,  scarcely  waiting  for  the  men  on  the  floe, 
who  scrambled  up  as  the  ship  was  moving  away. 

There  is  a  great  difference  between  Arctic  and 
Antarctic  seals.  In  the  North  the  seal  has  always  to  be 
on  the  look  out  for  the  polar  bear,  and  when  it  comes 
ashore  to  sleep  does  so  fitfully,  frequently  raising  its 
head  to  look  about,  and  slipping  back  to  the  water  on 
the  least  alarm.  Its  enemies  are  above  and  not  below 
water.  The  contrary  holds  in  the  Antarctic,  where  the 
seals  are  vigorously  preyed  upon  by  the  killers  and 
sea-leopards.  On  the  surface,  however,  they  have  no 
enemies,  and  although  they  take  fright  if  approached 
quickly  or  noisily,  one  can,  by  moving  quietly,  get  so 
close  to  them  that  they  can,  if  so  desired,  be  clubbed 
instead  of  shot.  This  clubbing  should  be  done  with  a 
heavy  instrument,  such  as  the  loom  of  an  oar,  and  the 
point  to  be  aimed  at  is  the  nose.  If  the  blow  is  delivered 
accurately  and  with  sufficient  weight,  the  seal  is  imme- 
diately rendered  unconscious,  after  which  the  jugular 
yeins  and  the  main  arteries  of  the  neck  are  severed  with 
a  knife,  without  one  of  which  at  his  belt  no  good  sailor 
or  explorer  goes  anywhere.  In  any  case  the  carcass  of 
the  seal  should  always  be  thoroughly  bled.  Another 
useful  instrument  by  which  the  animal  can  be  instan- 
taneously killed  is  an  Alpine  ice-pick,  the  point  being 
driven  by  a  smart  downward  tap  through  the  vault  of  the 
skull.  This  has  the  disadvantage  of  destroying  the 
brain,  which  we  always  used  for  cooking,  and  is,  indeed, 
the  greatest  dainty  provided  by  these  animals.  The 
method  of  killing  seals  which  we  always  adopted  when 
we  had  plenty  of  ammunition  was  to  shoot  them.  I 
always  aim  at  the  neck,  just  behind  the  skull,  where 

126  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

many  vital  structures  are  brought  into  close  relationship. 
Death  is  instantaneous,  bleeding  takes  place  freely,  and 
the  brain  is  not  destroyed. 

Macklin  sustained  a  nasty  cut  during  the  flensing, 
running  his  hand  off  the  haft  of  the  knife  on  to  the  blade. 
He  rather  prided  himself  on  his  knives,  on  which  he 
kept  a  razor  edge,  and  on  his  flensing,  and  I  think  he 
felt  annoyed  at  his  clumsiness,  for  it  was  with  an  almost 
shamefaced  air  that  he  went  to  Mcllroy  to  get  his  hand 
bound  up. 

The  art  of  keeping  a  hunting-knife  in  really  good 
order  is  one  which  few  people  understand.  A  keen  edge 
is  essential  for  neat  and  rapid  work,  yet  I  have  seen 
many  people  hacking  laboriously  away  with  a  blade 
which  would  scarcely  penetrate  butter.  I  always  carry 
a  pocket  carborundum  stone,  and  I  carefully  clean  and 
sharpen  my  knife  every  time  I  use  it.  Before  using  the 
stone  it  is  important  to  see  that  there  is  no  blood  or 
blubber  remaining  on  the  blade.  After  a  heavy  day's 
flensing  it  may  take  from  half  an  hour  to  an  hour  to 
bring  the  edge  to  perfection  again,  and  I  am  always 
amused  at  the  man  who  brings  something  resembling  a 
butcher's  steel  and  says  :  "  You  might  just  sharpen  that 
for  me,  will  you  ?  " 

Another  art  is  the  making  of  a  good  leather  sheath, 
for  that  is  a  thing  one  cannot  buy.  It  is  careful  and  con- 
tinued attention  to  small  things  that  makes  for  efficiency 
at  this  kind  of  work. 

It  did  not  get  completely  dark  at  midnight.  The 
increasing  light  in  the  early  morning  produced  a  wonder- 
ful sunrise.  Owing  to  the  gradual  upward  curve  of  the 
sun  in  these  latitudes,  the  effects  last  for  hours  and 
change  slowly,  contrasting  strongly  with  the  evanescent 

Photo  :    U  iikins 


The  Ice  127 

tropical  skies,  where  the  sun  rises  abruptly  above  the 

horizon  and  in  the  evening  falls  back  so  suddenly  that 

there  is  no  twilight.    The  sky  to  the  eastward  was  lit  up 

with  the  most  delicate  and  beautiful  colours,  which  were 

reflected  on  the  surface  of  the  floe.    The  old  floes  passed 

slowly  from  pale  pink  to  crimson  and,  as  the  sun  came 

over  the  rim,  to  the  palest  and  most  delicate  heliotrope. 

The  darker  newly  frozen  ice  changed  from  bronze  to 

light  apple-green.     To  the  westward  a  large  golden 

moon  was  poised  in  a  cloudless  sky,  turning  the  floes  to 

the  palest  of  gold.     No  words  of  mine  can  adequately  f 

convey  the  beauty  of  such  a  morning.  \ 

These  days  impressed  themselves  vividly  in  one's 
memory,  which  has  the  knack  of  picking  out  the  brighter 
spots  in  the  greyness  of  these  regions.  I  think  it  is 
impressions  like  these  which,  working  perhaps  subcon- 
sciously, produce  that  haunting  restlessness  which  makes 
one  feel  suddenly,  and  without  apparent  cause,  dis- 
satisfied with  civilization,  its  veneer  and  artificiality,  its 
restrictions  and  its  ugliness.  Certain  it  is  that  few 
people  who  have  travelled  away  from  the  beaten  track  \ 

and  spent  long,   unbroken   periods   face  to   face   with  \ 

Nature  can  hope  to  escape  the  sudden  feelings  of  rest- 
lessness and  disquietude  which  come  upon  one  without ' 
warning  and  drive  one  to  pacing  up  and  down,  to  face 
the  rain  on  a  gusty  night,  or  do  anything  so  long  as  one 
can  be  alone  for  a  while.  I  think  that  every  living  being 
has  at  one  time  or  another  experienced  that  curious  feel- 
ing— it  is  hard  to  say  of  what  exactly — a  sort  of  wonder- 
ing lostness  that  comes  over  one  in  certain  circumstances. 
In  our  own  country  one  feels  it  on  fine  nights  in  the 
gloaming,  when  everything  is  stilled  and  the  silence 
unbroken  save  by  the  full-throated  song  of  some  bird. 

128  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

which  seems  only  to  accentuate  it.  One  feels  something 
of  it  even  in  the  cities  in  the  quiet  of  a  summer  evening, 
with  the  smoke  of  countless  chimneys  winding  lazily 
upwards,  but  it  is  in  the  great  untouched  areas  of  the 
earth  that  it  makes  its  deepest  impression  and  grips  one 
with  the  greatest  intensity. 

It  has  been  my  fortune  to  visit  many  parts  of  the 
world,  and  I  can  recall  wonderful  evenings  in  many 
places  which  have  created  a  deep  impression  on  me,  but 
there  particularly  stand  out  in  my  mind's  eye  some  of  the 
long  Antarctic  autumn  twilights  too  beautiful  to  describe. 
I  have  seen  the  most  materialistic  and  unimpression- 
able of  men  strung  to  an  absolute  silence,  scarcely  daring 
to  breathe,  filled  with  something  intangible  and  inexplic- 
able. The  very  sledge  dogs  stand  stock  still,  gazing 
intently  into  the  farness,  ears  cocked,  listening — for 
what.'*  Suddenly  the  spell  is  broken  and  with  a  deep 
breath  one  turns  again  to  work. 

We  pushed  on  and  on  throughout  the  14th  and  made 
on  the  whole  pretty  good  headway.  I  stopped  just  long 
enough  to  let  Worsley  take  a  sounding,  depth  1,925 
fathoms  (lat.  68°  21'  S.  and  16°  o'  E.  long.).  With 
every  hour  the  ice  increased  in  thickness  and  the  Quest 
had  all  she  could  do  to  push  forward.  Work  at  the 
wheel  was  strenuous,  for  in  the  new  ice  the  ship  did  not 
make  a  straight  track,  but  swerved  all  the  time  from 
side  to  side,  and  the  helm  had  to  be  swung  repeatedly 
in  either  direction  to  check  the  deviation. 

About  midday  we  encountered  heavy  floe  against 
which  we  made  poor  headway,  and  I  began  to  realize 
that  it  would  be  touch  and  go  as  to  whether  we  would 
get  out  or  not.  I  sent  for  Kerr  and  told  him  to  give 
his  engines  all  they  would  stand.     He  increased  the 

The  Ice  129 

pressure  of  steam,  and  the  ship  began  to  make  headway 
slowly  but  surely. 

In  the  early  afternoon  the  weather  changed.  Mcllroy 
reported  a  rise  of  temperature  to  22°  Fahr.,  and  there 
was  a  swell,  very  faint  but  quite  noticeable.  A  skua 
gull  and  a  giant  petrel  appeared.  All  these  signs  were 
good,  indicating  a  more  open  pack  ahead  of  us  and  open 
water  within  reasonable  distance. 

By  8.0  P.M.  we  were  once  more  making  good  head- 
way, and  I  went  below,  to  fall  soundly  asleep  after  my 
days  of  anxiety  and  broken  rest. 

Owing  to  the  darkness  we  were  compelled  to  heave 
to  for  two  hours  at  midnight,  for  with  the  northing  we 
had  made  there  was  less  daylight,  and  one  cannot  dis- 
tinguish in  the  dim  light  between  rotten  floes  and  solid 
ones,  which  if  rammed  would  fetch  up  the  ship  all  stand- 
ing and  possibly  start  the  timbers  and  carry  away  a 
certain  amount  of  gear. 

The  temperature  had  risen  to  24°  Fahr.,  but  when  I 
came  on  deck  in  the  early  morning  of  the  15th  the  out- 
look was  not  good.  The  air  was  not  warm  enough  to 
prevent  freezing  of  the  ice,  and  from  the  mast-head  I 
saw  heavy  pack  to  the  northward.  There  was  one  good 
sign,  however,  and  that  was  an  increased  northerly  swell 
coming  along  in  slow  leisurely  rolls.  It  is  a  fine  sight 
to  see  a  huge  field  of  ice  rising  and  falling  in  this  manner. 

We  pushed  energetically  on  and  later  in  the  day  we 
entered  loose  open  pack.  I  had  no  doubt  now  that  we 
were  out  of  danger  of  being  beset.  It  was  a  relief  to 
be  able  to  relax  a  little  after  the  constant  effort  of  the 
last  fortnight. 

Although  we  were  now  free  from  danger  of  being 
beset  we  had  entered  a  new  set  of  conditions  which  were 

130  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

by  no  means  a  sinecure.  The  ice  had  the  effect  of 
deadening  swell,  but  the  pieces  of  floe  about  the  pack 
edge  were  often  thrown  into  violent  motion  and  made 
to  bump  and  grind  together  by  the  action  of  the  sea.  By 
coming  north  also  we  were  losing  daylight,  and  we  had 
now  from  two  to  three  hours  of  darkness  to  contend 
with  each  day.  Navigation  under  these  circumstances 
required  constant  care  and  watchfulness,  so  that  I  had 
still  to  maintain  a  pretty  active  vigilance.  For  much  of 
our  journey  about  the  northern  limits  of  the  pack  I  was 
compelled  for  the  sake  of  economy  to  shut  off  steam  and 
proceed  under  sail  only,  which  gave  me  some  idea  of 
the  difficulties  which  Bellingshausen  and  Biscoe  had  to 
contend  with,  and  enabled  me  to  appreciate  their  reti- 
cence to  push  deeply  into  the  ice.  To  both  of  these 
predecessors  I  must  pay  a  tribute  of  the  highest  praise 
for  their  determined  and  persevering  work  about  this 
segment.  In  the  whole  of  my  experience  as  a  seaman 
I  have  never  encountered  a  part  of  the  world  where 
weather  and  sea  conditions  generally  are  so  uncomfort- 
able. Periods  of  gale,  with  heavy  swell  and  grinding 
floe,  when  the  outlook  is  obscured  by  driving  wind  and 
blinding  snow  squalls,  alternate  with  periods  of  calm, 
when  fog  settles  in  a  dense  pall  of  fine  mist  which  forms 
heavy  rime  on  all  spars  and  running  gear,  and  freezing 
solid  interferes  greatly  with  their  working.  It  takes 
days  for  the  huge  rollers  to  subside,  and  the  floes  grind 
and  groan  incessantly.  I  had  always  the  feeling  that  I 
could  raise  steam  at  short  notice,  but  these  early  ex- 
plorers were  dependent  entirely  on  winds,  which  blow 
either  too  hard  or  not  hard  enough,  and  never  seem  to 
strike  the  happy  medium.  To  John  Biscoe,  British  sea- 
man, the  trip  must  have  been  one  of  long  continued 

The  Ice  131 

struggle,  for  he  was  ill  equipped,  scurvy  set  in  and  he 
lost  the  greater  part  of  the  crews  of  both  his  vessels. 
On  his  own  ship,  the  Tula,  there  were  only  three  men 
able  to  stand  when  the  ship  reached  Hobart,  and  on 
the  Lively  only  three  were  alive  when  she  reached  Port 
Philip.  His  story,  told  baldly,  makes  enthralling  read- 
ing for  those  who  can  appreciate  it. 

We  made  good  progress  to  the  northward,  the  day's 
run  at  noon  on  the  i6th  being  estimated  by  Worsley  at 
seventy-seven  miles.  We  passed  through  much  open 
water  with  a  strong  easterly  swell,  but  encountered  also 
several  belts  of  heavy,  closely  packed  ice  consisting  of 
old  floe  which  had  undergone  heavy  pressure.  Owing 
to  the  swell  it  was  impossible  to  avoid  some  severe 
bumps.  Birds  were  about  in  large  numbers,  including 
Antarctic  petrels,  giant  petrels  and  terns.  We  saw 
numerous  killers,  and  witnessed  a  most  interesting 
display  by  two  of  them  which  were  playing  and  disport- 
ing themselves  on  the  surface,  flinging  their  huge  bulks 
high  into  the  air,  and  creating  a  tremendous  turmoil  in 
the  water.  Crab-eaters  were  seen  in  numbers  on  the 
floes,  sometimes  singly,  often  in  bunches  of  five  or  six. 
We  saw  no  penguins  or  snow  petrels.  Worsley  reported 
a  single  Mother  Carey's  Chicken  as  having  been  about. 
They  all  pointed  to  the  proximity  of  open  ocean,  and  I 
expected  that  we  should  be  clear  of  ice  by  next  day. 

A  sounding  taken  in  lat.  67°  of  S.  and  14°  29'  E. 
long,  gave  a  depth  of  2,341  fathoms. 

In  the  evening  we  again  entered  an  area  of  heavy 
old  floes,  which  moved  about  and  pressed  together  in 
the  swell.  Snow  squalls  and  dim  light  made  the  naviga- 
tion of  them  a  difficult  matter,  but  by  noon  of  the  follow- 
ing day  we  had  got  clear  of  pack  and  were  in  open  water 

132  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

with  a  clear  sky  to  the  northward.  Numerous  solitary 
pieces  of  floe  and  heavy  growlers  were  still  dotted  about. 
Growlers  are  heavy,  solid  pieces  of  ice,  grey  or  greenish- 
grey  in  colour,  which  float  with  their  tops  just  awash. 
They  are  consequently  difficult  to  see,  especially  in  poor 
light,  and  a  close  watch  has  always  to  be  kept  for  them. 

Some  of  the  floes  carried  passengers  in  the  shape  of 
crab-eater  seals.  We  saw  a  number  of  huge  blue  whales, 
which  are  recognized  by  their  large  size,  high  vertical 
spout  which  opens  out  into  a  dense  cloud  of  spray,  and 
the  presence  of  a  fin.  Killers  also  were  about  in  large 

In  the  early  morning  of  the  i8th  we  turned  south 
again  in  another  attempt  to  push  through  to  land  or  ice 
barrier.  From  the  lateness  of  the  season  we  knew  this 
must  necessarily  be  the  last  attempt  for  this  year. 

We  had  not  proceeded  many  miles  when  we  again 
encountered  pack,  which  compelled  us  to  take  a  south- 
westerly direction,  passing  through  a  good  deal  of  brash, 
but  keeping  clear  of  heavy  ice.  The  weather  was  thick 
and  snowy.  Later  we  encountered  some  very  old  floes 
full  of  small  caves,  and  with  well-defined  necks  where 
the  sea  had  worn  them  away  by  the  continual  wash,  so 
that  they  resembled  gigantic  mushrooms  growing  from 
the  surface  of  the  water. 

Marr  was  taken  ill  at  this  time  with  sore  throat  and 
hign  temperature.  He  said  nothing  of  the  condition 
himself  and  would  have  struggled  on  had  not  Dell  in- 
formed Macklin  that  he  looked  a  bit  sick.  He  is  a  hardy 
youngster  and  showed  his  contempt  for  the  cold  by 
walking  about  inadequately  clothed.  He  had  a  vivid 
maroon-coloured  muffler,  beautifully  soft  and  warm.  I 
once  asked  him  if  it  was  a  present  from  his  best  girl. 

The  Ice  133 

"  Yes,"  he  replied,  "  from  my  mother."  I  threatened 
him  that  if  he  appeared  without  this  round  his  neck  in 
future  I  would  pack  him  off  to  bed  and  keep  him  there. 
The  doctors  reported  that  his  condition  was  not  serious, 
and  a  day  or  two  in  bed  would  put  him  right  again. 

We  continued  in  a  southerly  direction  till  the  night 
of  the  20th,  when  we  met  heavy  pack  which  compelled 
us  to  turn  west.  At  noon  on  the  21st  we  were  forced 
to  come  back  in  a  north-westerly  direction.  In  the  even- 
ing we  skirted  a  line  of  ice  running  west-south-west,  and 
on  the  morning  of  the  22nd  again  entered  open  sea. 

The  22nd  was  Worsley's  birthday.  He  had  reached 
his  fiftieth  milestone,  but  could  easily  have  passed  for 
ten  years  less.  We  celebrated  the  occasion  by  an  extra 
special  spread  at  which,  to  the  surprise  and  (needless 
to  say)  delight,  of  nearly  everyone,  some  bottles  of  beer 
materialized.  The  piece  de  resistance  was  a  large  pink 
cake  bearing  in  sugar  the  inscription,  "  Wuzzles'  21st." 
He  was  called  upon  to  cut  it  himself,  and  was  given  a 
large  steel  chopper  with  which  to  do  it.  Having  per- 
formed a  Maori  war  dance,  he  proceeded  to  cut  it  into 
slices.  It  proved  to  be  a  bit  hard,  so  he  attempted  to 
lift  it  to  a  better  position,  to  find,  to  his  amazement,  that 
he  could  scarcely  budge  it.  The  cake  turned  out  to  be 
a  56-lb.  sinker,  which  Green  had  covered  with  sugar. 
However,  a  proper  cake  was  forthcoming,  and  the  even- 
ing was  spent  merrily. 

The  Quest  was  not  a  comfortable  ship,  and  there 
was  little  to  take  the  mind  from  general  routine  and  the 
business  in  hand.  The  continuous  struggle  with  the 
pack  became  after  a  time  very  exhausting,  and  there 
was  a  chance  also  of  its  becoming  something  of  an  ob- 
session.    Consequently,    occasions   such    as    birthdays. 

134  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

which  provided  a  diversion  and  helped  to  lift  the  men 
out  of  themselves,  were  of  the  greatest  value. 

February  23rd  was  a  dull  grey  day.  We  hoisted  the 
squaresail  at  daybreak  and  continued  to  run  off  before 
a  strong  easterly  wind.  With  sails  set  there  was  great 
difficulty  in  getting  the  wardroom  stove  to  burn,  for  both 
topsail  and  squaresail  created  a  powerful  and  baffling 
down  draught  for  which  we  designed  and  made  all  sorts 
and  shapes  of  cowls,  but  without  much  success.  The 
wardroom  became  filled  with  dense  acrid  smoke,  and 
the  fire  was  generally  allowed  to  go  out  when  the 
temperature  fell  so  much  that  no  one  could  use  it  to 
sit  about,  and  those  taking  their  watch  below  were  driven 
to  their  bunks.  Wilkins  and  Douglas  in  the  forecastle 
had  the  same  difficulty.  Wilkins,  ever  resourceful,  built 
a  cowl,  but  it  fouled  the  sheet  of  the  forestay  sail  and 
was  swept  away.  Nothing  daunted,  he  built  another, 
which  met  the  same  fate.  With  exemplary  patience  he 
built  a  new  one  each  time  the  other  was  lost !  We  did 
our  best  to  protect  the  cowls  when  setting  or  taking  in 
sail,  but  in  heavy  winds,  when  the  squaresail  was  let  go 
at  the  run,  it  was  almost  impossible  to  do  so. 

Since  the  evening  of  the  21st  we  had  made  in  a  west 
to  west-south-westerly  direction,  but,  seeing  what  ap- 
peared to  be  open  seas  with  sky  to  the  horizon  a  deep 
black,  I  now  turned  south  again.  Within  an  hour,  how- 
ever, we  met  with  small  pieces  of  ice,  which  became  more 
numerous  as  we  proceeded.  We  then  entered  an  area  of 
sea  full  of  small  round  pieces,  like  snowballs,  covered 
with  a  fine  powdery  ice.  Snow  settling  on  this  area  gave 
it  the  appearance  of  a  "  sea  of  milk."  The  swell  con- 
tinued, but  the  surface  was  like  oil,  unbroken  by  a  single 
ripple.     We  passed  from  this  into  a  belt  where  the  sur- 

The  Ice  135 

face  was  just  beginning  to  freeze,  forming  the  thinnest 
possible  film  of  ice.  The  snow  on  this  gave  the  impres- 
sion of  a  grey  sea.  Visibility,  owing  to  the  snow  which 
fell  quietly  and  continuously,  was  poor.  The  whole 
outlook  gave  a  curious  impression  of  greyness,  grey  sea, 
grey  sky,  and  everything  grey  wherever  one  looked. 

As  we  progressed  still  farther  the  filmy  surface  was 
replaced  by  definite  pancake  formation.  Amongst  the 
pancakes  were  numerous  heavy  old  lumps,  much  water- 
worn  at  sea  level,  but  heavy  underneath  with  long  pro- 
jecting tongues. 

The  night  was  cold  and  snowy  and  the  decks  became 
covered  with  a  very  slippery  slush  on  which,  with  the 
rolling  of  the  ship,  it  was  not  easy  to  keep  a  footing. 
We  took  in  sail,  a  cold  and  unpleasant  job  because  all 
spars,  sails  and  running  gear  had  become  coated  with 
a  thick  covering  of  ice. 

Dinner  that  night  was  a  cold  business,  and  the  dull- 
ness of  the  day  and  general  outlook  had  rather  damped 
our  spirits.     Macklin  writes  on  this  date  : 

Owing  to  the  stove  refusing  to  burn,  the  ward- 
room was  cold,  and  we  gathered  round  the  dinner-table 
feeling  pretty  miserable.  Green  had  prepared  a  big 
dish  of  hot  potatoes  in  their  jackets.  I  placed  the 
biggest  I  could  find  under  my  jersey  and  it  warmed 
me  up  finely.  I  kept  moving  it  round  so  as  to  warm 
as  much  of  my  body  as  possible,  and  finally  ate  it, 
warming  also  my  inside.  One  has  to  be  economical 
these  hard  times. 

As  the  light  failed  the  ice  began  to  thicken,  and  as 
the  swell  was  causing  the  floes  to  grind  heavily  together 
I  lay  to  till  daybreak.     All  night  long  we  heard  the 

136  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

moaning  and  complaining  of  the  grinding  floes,  a  number 
of  which,  with  long  underwater  tongues,  drifted  down 
upon  us,  causing  the  ship  to  take  some  very  bad  bumps. 
To  economize  our  now  much-depleted  coal  I  had  given 
Kerr  instructions  to  let  the  steam  fall  off,  and  we  had 
to  be  constantly  sheeting  home  the  topsail  and  pointing 
the  yards  to  get  her  to  fall  away  from  our  unpleasant 
neighbours,  contact  with  which  might  prove  dangerous. 

The  floes  looked  very  weird  in  the  darkness  as  they 
surged  up  on  the  swell  and  fell  back  again  into  the 
trough  of  the  sea,  the  water  sucking  and  gurgling 
amongst  the  cracks  and  chasms  and  making  the  most 
uncanny  noises. 

At  daybreak  on  the  24th  steam  was  raised  and  we 
continued  south,  pushing  through  pancake  ice  which 
contained  many  heavy  floes.  Seen  from  aloft  the  pan- 
cake formation  makes  a  most  beautiful  mosaic.  Much 
of  our  finest  art  is  surpassed  by  Nature,  and  in  these 
southern  regions  there  is  much  to  attract  those  who  have 
an  artistic  temperament. 

The  ice  rapidly  increased  in  thickness,  and  by 
noon  we  were  again  held  up  by  dense  impenetrable 
pack  in  position  lat.  68°  32'  S.  and  0°  5'  E.  long.  To 
the  south  the  outlook  was  hopeless.  I  climbed  to  the 
crow's  nest  to  scan  the  horizon  to  the  southward,  but 
saw  only  closely  packed  and  heavy  ice  stretching  away 
to  the  horizon,  whilst  in  the  sky  was  a  strongly  marked 
ice-blink.  It  was  bitterly  disappointing.  There  was  no 
alternative  but  to  retrace  our  steps  and  work  to  the  west- 
ward. I  went  below,  where  once  more  I  pulled  out  all 
the  charts  and  examined  again  the  records  of  old  ex- 
plorers in  these  regions.  I  had  a  long  talk  with  Worsley 
and  Kerr.     The  season  was  well  advanced;  the  Quest 

The  Ice  137 

had  neither  the  driving  power  nor  the  amount  of  coal 
to  enable  me  to  batter  hard  at  heavy  floe.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  I  do  not  think  that  any  ship,  however  powerful, 
could  have  made  any  impression  on  the  stuff  to  the  south 
of  us.  As  far  as  finding  land  in  this  segment  was  con- 
cerned I  felt  that  we  had  shot  our  bolt.  I  was,  however, 
determined  to  have  another  try,  and  to  make  Cape  Town 
my  base,  where  I  could  overhaul  and  refit  my  ship,  where 
there  was  a  big  supply  of  good  winter  stores  and  equip- 
ment, and  where  I  could  readjust  the  personnel.  I 
intended  to  make  the  start  early  in  the  season^  and  I  felt 
confident  that  with  the  time  to  spare  to  enable  us  to  wait 
for  the  ice  to  move  we  should  reach  new  land. 

My  intention  was  now  to  make  as  directly  as  possible 
for  the  charted  position  of  "  Ross's  Appearance  of 
Land,"  the  accuracy  of  which  I  hoped  either  to  verify 
or  to  disprove,  and  to  take  a  series  of  soundings  on  the 
spot.  We  should  by  that  time  be  very  short  of  coal 
and  consequently  also  in  need  of  ballast.  I  determined, 
therefore,  to  call  at  Elephant  Island,  where  I  felt  sure 
we  would  find  sea-elephants  in  sufficient  numbers  to 
supply  us  with  blubber  as  fuel.  Blubber  is  by  no  means 
an  ideal  form  of  fuel  for  the  furnace,  for  it  burns  with 
a  fierce,  hot  flame  and  is  very  messy.  Mixed  judiciously 
with  coal,  however,  I  knew  it  would  materially  help  to 
spin  out  the  supply.  I  hoped,  also,  to  be  able  to  take 
aboard  a  quantity  of  sand  or  shingle  as  ballast.  From 
there  I  proposed  proceeding  to  Deception  Island  to  coal, 
and  thence  return  to  South  Georgia. 

At  this  point  I  must  mention  that  which  is  not  a 
pleasant  subject,  but  one  which  should  not  be  glossed 
over,  because  it  indicates  what  is  a  most  important 
feature  in  the  preparation  for  a  polar  expedition  :  the 

138  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

choice  of  personnel.  It  is  a  matter  which  requires  the 
greatest  possible  care,  for  one  discordant  or  unadaptable 
spirit  can  do  a  vast  amount  of  harm  in  infecting  others. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  since  leaving  South 
Georgia  we  had  had  a  very  wearing  time  and  one  which 
tried  the  temper  and  patience  of  all  hands.  It  must  be 
admitted  that  before  leaving  England  the  arrangements 
for  the  comfort  of  the  personnel  had  in  some  directions 
been  overlooked,  and  long-continued  discomfort  is 
bound  sooner  or  later  to  have  an  effect  upon  the  temper. 
Life  on  board  ship  entails  a  certain  amount  of  dull 
routine,  providing  at  times  an  amount  of  exhausting 
work  but  very  little  active  exercise.  We  had  experi- 
enced long  spells  of  bad  weather,  with  a  large  propor- 
tion of  dull,  grey  days  and  little  sunshine.  I  therefore 
expected  and  was  prepared  to  find  that  individuals 
would  experience  periods  of  irritability,  and  that  things 
would  not  always  run  as  smoothly  as  might  be  desired. 
The  personnel  had  been  selected  from  men  of  marked 
individual  character,  and  in  order  that  a  body  of  men 
of  this  type  shall  be  able  to  live  in  absolute  harmony 
over  a  long  period  of  time  it  is  necessary  that  an  out- 
standing quality  of  each  shall  be  a  good  "  give  and 
take  "  sporting  spirit.  The  effect  of  one  or  two  selfish 
and  discordant  natures  can  easily  be  understood.  There 
was  surprisingly  little  friction  amongst  the  various 
members  of  the  expedition,  which  is  due  largely  to  the 
sound  qualities  of  the  nucleus  of  old,  tried  men. 

I  began  to  be  aware,  however,  about  this  time  of  an 
amount  of  dissatisfaction  and  grumbling  occurring  in 
both  the  forward  and  after-messes  that  I  did  not  like. 
Men  who  sat  at  table  with  me  and  to  a  certain  extent 
enjoyed  my  confidence  discussed  and  freely  criticized 

The  Ice  139 

expedition  affairs  with  members  of  the  after-mess.  Of 
this  I  had  ample  confirmation.  Some  of  those  thus  em- 
ployed were  officers  who  from  their  position  on  the  ship 
should  have  been  my  most  loyal  supporters.  In  the 
after-mess  also  I  was  surprised  to  find  that  the  men 
affected  were  those  in  whom  I  had  placed  the  most  im-  - 

plicit  trust.  It  was  a  condition  of  things  that  required  ' 
prompt  measures.  I  assembled  each  mess  in  turn,  and  I 
going  straight  to  the  point  told  them  that  further  con-  j 
tinuance  would  be  met  with  the  most  drastic  treatment.  i 
I  pointed  out  that  although  I  would  at  all  times  welcome  j 
suggestions  from  the  officers  and  scientific  staff,  and  i 
would  consider  any  reasonable  complaints,  I  could  \ 
consider  no  selfish  or  individual  interests,  and  my  own  / 
decision  must  be  final  and  end  discussion  of  the  / 

I  was  glad  to  notice  an  immediate  improvement. 

On  February  25th  we  passed  through  a  lot  of 
loose  ice,  and  in  the  evening  entered  a  patch  of 
heavy,  old,  deeply  stained  diatomaceous  floes.  Scores 
of  crab-eater  seals  lay  asleep  on  them  in  batches 
of  five  or  six.  Passing  close  to  one  piece  on  which 
six  were  lying  in  a  clump,  I  laid  the  ship  along- 
side and  with  my  heavy  rifle  shot  them  all.  I  sent 
Macklin,  with  Douglas  and  Argles,  on  to  the  floe  to 
secure  them,  which  is  best  done  by  passing  a  strop  round 
the  body  and  tightening  it  close  up  under  the  flippers. 
Having  fixed  up  a  block  and  tackle  we  hauled  them 
aboard — an  awkward  job  on  account  of  the  swell  in 
which  the  Quest  rolled  heavily.  In  the  subsequent 
flensing  Douglas  jabbed  his  knee,  the  knife  penetrating 
the  joint.  The  wound  itself  was  small,  but  Macklin 
insisted  on  absolute  rest  until  he  could  be  sure  that  there 

140  Shacklcton's  Last  Voyage 

was  no  infection.  Carr  also  cut  his  finger.  These  ac- 
cidents were  largely  due  to  the  movement  of  the  ship, 
which  rendered  the  operation  a  difficult  one.  Two  in- 
experienced men  wielding  their  knives  on  the  same  seal 
are  a  source  of  danger  to  each  other,  for  with  the  sweep- 
ing strokes  employed  there  is  the  chance  of  a  mutilating 
cut.  I  always  insisted  in  cases  like  this  that  only  one 
man  at  a  time  should  have  a  knife  in  his  hand. 

Watts  succeeded  in  getting  Greenwich  time  by  wire- 
less from  Rio  de  Janeiro,  which  enabled  us  to  check  our 
chronometers.  Long-distance  messages  were  not  easily 
obtained  owing  to  bad  atmospheric  conditions,  which 
produce  loud  noises  in  the  ear-pieces. 

By  February  28th,  as  a  result  of  our  depleted 
bunkers,  the  ship  was  very  light  and  ill-ballasted.  I  told 
Worsley  to  remove  from  the  decks  all  heavy  gear  and 
place  it  below,  for  which  purpose  I  arranged  to  clear  the 
coal  from  the  forward  part  of  the  bunkers  and  put  it  aft 
into  the  side  pockets.  I  divided  the  men  into  two  work- 
ing parties,  one  to  go  down  in  the  morning,  consisting  of 
Mcllroy,  Marr,  Macklin  and  Dell,  and  one  to  work  in 
the  afternoon,  of  Wilkins,  Carr,  McLeod  and  Watts. 
So  much  vigour  did  the  morning  party  put  into  this  work, 
however,  that  at  lunch-time  there  was  little  for  the  others 
to  do  beyond  stow  the  gear  from  above. 

March  ist  was  another  fine  day,  and  we  took  full 
advantage  of  it  to  hang  up  the  spare  sails  to  dry  prior  to 
placing  them  below.  All  hands  seized  the  opportunity 
to  put  out  blankets  and  bedding  for  an  airing. 

The  deck  clearance  made  a  wonderful  improvement 
to  the  ship.  Unfortunately,  it  made  it  necessary  that  we 
should  have  the  gear  up  again  when  we  coaled  at 
Deception  Island. 

The  Ice  141 

Worsley  obtained  a  sounding  of  2,762  fathoms  in 
position  lat.  65°  22'  S.  and  10°  \f  W.  long. 

In  the  late  afternoon  we  passed  a  yery  curious  berg 
composed  of  a  solid  mass  with  a  long,  upright  tooth-like 
portion  separated  from  it  on  the  surface  by  ten  or  twenty 
yards  of  water.  Perched  on  it  were  several  Antarctic 
petrels  and  one  solitary  ringed  penguin.  How  the  latter 
ever  attained  its  position  is  a  mystery,  for  the  sides  of 
the  berg  were  steep  and  precipitous. 

On  Saturday,  March  4th,  there  was  a  strong  north- 
east to  easterly  wind,  with  heavy  swell,  and  the  motion 
of  the  Quest  was  simply  awful,  so  bad,  indeed,  that  in 
spite  of  our  long  time  at  sea  several  of  the  party  were 
sea-sick.    Macklin  writes  under  this  date.: 

It  has  been  impossible  to  stand  without  holding 
firmly  to  some  support,  and  movement  about  the  ship 
can  only  be  accomplished  by  sudden  jerks  and  starts, 
with  hurried  gropings  for  something  to  catch  hold  of. 
A  wet,  snowy  slush  on  the  deck  does  not  help  matters. 
Argles  was  thrown  off  his  feet  and,  crashing  across  the 
deck,  fetched  up  on  the  other  side  against  a  bucket, 
severely  bruising  face,  chest  and  hands.  Meals  are  a 
screaming  comedy  or  a  tragedy,  as  you  like  to  take 
them ;  everything  placed  on  the  table  promptly  charges 
for  the  scuppers,  and  fiddles  are  almost  useless. 
Mcllroy,  "  Kraskie,"  Kerr  and  myself  were  sitting 
on  a  wooden  bench,  secured  to  the  floor,  holding 
on  to  plates  and  spoons,  and  endeavouring  to  guide 
some  food  into  our  mouths.  Suddenly,  during 
a  particularly  violent  roll,  the  bench  was  torn  from 
its  fastenings,  and  we  were  thrown  backwards  into  the 
lee  of  the  wardroom,  intimately  mixed  with  knives. 

142  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

forks,  plates  and  treacle  dough.  During  the  evening 
watch  Commander  Wild  was  talking  to  Mick  and  my- 
self on  the  bridge  when  suddenly  he  shot  away  into  the 
darkness,  and  a  few  moments  later  sounds  the  reverse 
of  complimentary  were  heard  issuing  from  the  end  of 
the  bridge-house.  Ross  brought  some  tea  a  few 
minutes  later,  apologizing  for  having  spilled  much  of 
it  en  route.  He,  too,  suddenly  disappeared  in  dark- 
ness, and  when  he  next  materialized  there  was  less 
tea  than  ever,  but  it  was  a  good  effort  his  getting  it 
there  at  all.  When  I  went  below  I  saw  Wuzzles  try- 
ing to  work  out  his  calculations  on  the  wardroom 
table,  with  first  a  book,  then  a  pencil  or  a  ruler  shoot- 
ing suddenly  to  the  floor.  The  Quest  is  a  little 
"she-devil,"  lively  as  they  are  made.  She  has  many 
uncomplimentary  things  said  of  her,  and  deserves  all 
of  them. 

On  March  5th  we  passed  within  sight  of  several  large 
and  beautiful  bergs  emerging  from  the  Weddell  Sea, 
the  mouth  of  which  we  were  now  crossing,  and  met  with 
heavier  floes  than  we  had  hitherto  encountered.  On  the 
9th  we  ran  into  broad  belts  of  heavy  ice.  I  took  this 
chance  of  "  watering  "  ship,  placing  her  alongside  a  floe 
with  some  solid  pieces  of  blue  ice.  Owing  to  the  swell 
the  ship  would  not  lie  comfortably,  and  so,  taking  with 
me  Macklin,  Carr  and  Douglas,  I  went  off  to  secure  her 
fore  and  aft.  We  broke  up  and  passed  aboard  a  con- 
siderable quantity  of  fresh  ice.  The  men  thoroughly 
enjoy  a  job  of  this  nature  and  make  a  great  joke  of  it. 
On  this  occasion  they  broke  the  ice  into  fragments  of 
convenient  weight  and  threw  them  at  Jeffrey,  who  had 
undertaken  to  catch  them  all,  subjecting  him  to  a  regular 

The  Ice  143 

fusillade  from  which  it  was  all  he  could  do  to  defend 
himself.  On  the  floe  there  was  a  seal  which  had  come 
up  to  sleep,  and  we  took  this  also.  While  this  work  was 
going  on,  Worsley  took  a  sounding,  finding  in  position 
lat.  66°  5'  S.  and  38°  16'  W.  long.,  2,521  fathoms. 

Query  came  on  to  the  floe,  where  he  took  a 
tremendous  interest  in  a  killer  which  was  swimming 
about.  The  killer  rose  close  to  the  floe  and  "blew" 
with  such  a  blast  that  Query  tucked  in  his  tail  and  ran 
for  dear  life — much  to  our  amusement. 

On  Friday,  March  loth,  we  encountered  still  heavier 
belts,  and  were  compelled  to  take  a  north-easterly 
direction.  In  the  evening  it  turned  much  colder,  the 
temperature  dropping  to  17°  Fahr. 

A  number  of  Adelie  penguins  were  seen  on  the  floe. 
Seals  were  scarce,  only  one  being  seen.  Snow  and 
Antarctic  petrels  flew  about  the  ship  in  considerable 

During  the  night  we  continued  to  push  in  a  north- 
easterly direction,  meeting  very  heavy  broken-up  old 
Weddell  Sea  floe.  The  temperature  rose  again  to 
24°  Fahr.  A  strong  easterly  wind  was  blowing,  with 
snow,  which  made  it  difficult  to  see  far  in  any  direction. 

Water  was  again  reported  in  the  hold  to  the  level  of 
the  kelson,  and  required  three  hours'  additional  pumping 
to  reduce. 

At  6.0  P.M.  the  snow  thickened  so  much  that  we  could 
see  nothing,  and  so  lay  to  for  the  night.  All  about  we 
heard  the  cries  of  Adelie  penguins.  The  wind  and  snow 
continued  all  night,  but  at  4.30  a.m.  on  the  12th  we 
started  off  again,  pushing  through  thick  pack  composed 
of  heavy  old  Weddell  Sea  floe  with  the  water  in  between 
freezing  solidly,  making  headway  difficult.    Often  during 

144  Shacklcton's  Last  Voyage 

this  period  I  bemoaned  to  myself  the  low  driving  power 
of  the  Quest.  With  the  onset  of  darkness  we  again  lay 
to.  During  the  night  Marr,  who  was  now  a  trustworthy 
seaman,  was  on  the  look  out.  He  makes  the  following 
entry  in  his  diary  :  "  There  was  no  one  to  talk  to  and 
all  round  lay  that  vast  cold  wilderness  of  ice.  Never 
in  my  life  have  I  felt  so  lonely.  .  .  ."  This  is  indeed  a 
feeling  which  one  gets  frequently  in  these  regions, 
especially  at  night — a  great  sense  of  loneliness  such  as 
I  have  never  felt  elsewhere.  On  Monday,  March  13th, 
the  temperature  dropped  during  the  night  to  8°  Fahr., 
and  the  sea  froze  solidly  about  the  ship.  In  the  strong 
wind,  with  jib  and  mizen  set,  there  was  just  enough  way 
to  keep  the  ship  from  being  beset.  About  4.0  a.m.,  how- 
ever, she  did  become  fast,  but  as  soon  as  daylight  came 
in  we  got  up  steam  and  proceeded  as  rapidly  as  possible. 
The  skies  cleared  beautifully,  but  the  sea  continued  to 
freeze  so  swiftly  and  solidly  that  we  had  the  greatest 
difficulty  in  getting  ahead,  and  many  times  we  had  to 
back  off  into  our  own  water  to  get  up  sufficient  impetus 
to  break  through.  How  we  got  the  Quest  along  at  all 
I  cannot  understand. 

The  outlook  was  very  bad.  Worsley  and  I  spent 
long  hours  aloft  searching  for  signs  of  land  in  the  direc- 
tion of  '*  Ross's  Appearance,"  but  though  it  was  a  beauti- 
fully clear  day,  we  could  see  no  indication  of  it.  Ahead 
of  us  the  ice  stretched  thick  and  solid  as  far  as  we  could 
see.  Headway  became  more  and  more  difficult,  and  soon 
I  saw  that  it  would  be  useless  to  attempt  to  push  on.  A 
sounding  showed  2,331  fathoms  of  water  in  lat.  64°  11'  S. 
and  46°  4'  W.  long.,  which  did  not  indicate  the  proximity 
of  land.  Owing  to  the  low  driving  power  of  the  ship  I 
could  make  no  impression  through  the  ice  ahead,  nor 

The  Ice  145 

could  I  afford  the  coal  for  prolonged  ramming.  It 
seemed  to  me  that  we  were  in  imminent  danger  of  being 
beset,  and  I  decided  that  we  must  push  north  in  the  hope 
of  meeting  more  open  pack.  I  had  to  give  up  all  thought 
of  attempting  to  return  to  "  Ross's  Appearance,"  because 
I  was  now  desperately  short  of  fuel,  and  unless  we  could 
get  blubber  at  Elephant  Island  we  should  be  in  a  bad 

About  us  during  the   day  were  numerous  Adelie 
penguins,  occurring  in  twos  and  threes,  and  in  a  few 
larger  clusters  of  forty  or  more.    None  of  the  floes  bear- 
ing the  large  clusters  were  accessible  to  the  ship,  or  I 
would  have  taken  them  up,  for  their  skins  burn  well. 
Crab-eaters  were  scarce.    Seeing  two  on  a  floe,  with 
about   a   dozen   penguins,   we    lay  alongside.     Argles 
jumped  off  to  try  and  catch  one,  but  in  the  soft  snow 
the  penguin  had  the  advantage,  and  Argles'  efforts  were 
very  amusing  to  the  rest  of  us.    He  is  an  active  fellow, 
however,  and  was  at  last  successful,  bringing  a  squawk- 
ing young  Adelie  in  his  arms  to  the  ship,  where  Query 
paid  it  marked  attention.    We  killed  the  rest  of  them, 
also  the  seals,  and  put  them  aboard  the  ship.    Owing  to 
the  darkness,  we  lay  to  at  night  in  rapidly  freezing  ice 
with  the  outlook  as  regards  escape  not  at  all  promising, 
and  at  4.30  the  next  morning  we  raised  full  pressure  of 
steam  and  attempted  to  get  away.    After  two  hours  of 
hard  ramming  we  had  made  so  little  headway  that  I 
gave  up  the  attempt  and  lay  to  alongside  a  floe.     By 
breakfast  it  had  become  apparent  that  we  were  fast,  hard 
frozen  in.    The  temperature  had  dropped  to  6.5°  Fahr. 
It  blew  hard  all  day.     Birds  with  the  exception  of 
a  few  snow  petrels  disappeared  early.      Macklin  says 
of  these  birds : 

146  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

I  always  regard  the  snow  petrel  as  symbolic  of 
the  Spirit  of  the  Pack,  for  they  are  never  entirely 
absent,  in  fair  weather  or  foul.  Even  in  winter  when 
all  is  dark  one  can  hear  the  gentle  "  whisp-whisp  " 
of  their  wings  as  they  fly  close.  Their  pure  white 
bodies  with  jet  black  beak  and  legs  give  them  a 
beautiful  appearance  when  seen  at  a  distance,  but 
when  gathered  about  a  piece  of  offal  at  closer  range, 
there  is  something  unpleasant  and  almost  evil  in  their 
appearance,  with  their  sinister  curved  beaks,  hard 
bright  eyes  and  pock-toed  waddling  gait.  They  are 
seen  at  their  best  on  a  bright  clear  day  with  a  back- 
ground of  blue  sky.  Like  the  pack  they  can  give  an 
attractive  impression  or  a  most  unpleasant  one. 

Killers  were  about  during  the  day. 

We  were  still  solidly  frozen  in  on  the  15th.  A  fairly 
strong  westerly  wind  blew  with  a  temperature  of  8.5° 
Fahr.  The  day  was  bright  and  clear,  and  Jeffrey  and 
Douglas  took  theodolite  and  dip  circle  on  to  the  floe 
for  observations,  which  were  impossible  on  a  moving 
deck.  In  the  morning  I  put  all  hands  to  cleaning  up 
the  ship  and  pumping  her  dry,  a  process  which  took  two 
hours  daily.  Whilst  engaged  in  this  a  killer  appeared 
in  a  small  lead  which  had  formed  on  the  port  bow,  and 
continued  to  swim  slowly  backwards  and  forwards, 
affording  us  an  excellent  close  view.  His  motion 
through  the  water  was  a  marvel  of  graceful  movement, 
but  in  other  respects  he  was  an  ugly  looking  monster, 
with  slightly  underhung  jaw  and  a  small  wicked  eye 
which  gave  him  a  very  evil  appearance.  His  back  and 
flanks  were  covered  with  large  brown-coloured  patches, 
probably  parasitic.     I  called  Marr's  attention  to  him; 

The  Ice  147 

he  remarked  that  it  did  not  make  him  feel  inclined  to 
fall  overboard. 

At  noon  Worsley  got  an  observation  of  the  sun  and 
worked  out  a  position  which  showed  a  drift  of  eighteen 
miles  in  direction  N.  43^  E.  This  was  very  encourag- 
ing, for  I  knew  that  if  it  continued  we  should  not  be 
long  in  reaching  a  point  at  which  the  floe  would  begin 
to  open  up  and  give  us  a  chance  to  get  away.  A  sound- 
ing gave  2,321  fathoms  in  lat.  63°  51'  S.  and  45°  13'  W. 
long.  The  steam  pipe  of  the  sounding  machine  froze, 
so  that  Dell  was  unable  to  get  in  the  wire,  which  was 
left  all  night  in  the  hope  of  getting  it  in  next  morning. 
By  daylight,  however,  the  ship  had  altered  her  position 
relative  to  the  hole  in  the  ice  by  about  fifty  yards  and 
the  wire  was  as  taut  as  a  harp  string.  I  made  an  effort 
to  clear  it  with  an  ice-axe,  but  did  not  succeed  in  doing 
so.  This  single  sounding  wire  held  the  weight  of  the 
ship,  maintaining  it  and  the  floe  in  the  same  relative 
positions  for  forty-eight  hours  before  finally  parting.  It 
was  not  subjected  to  any  jerking  strain,  but  this  test  says 
much  for  its  strength. 

We  remained  frozen  in  till  March  21st.  At  times 
I  felt  very  anxious,  for  with  the  lateness  of  the  season, 
failing  light  and  shortage  of  coal,  I  realized  that  our 
position  might  turn  out  to  be  a  very  awkward  one.  In- 
deed things  looked  so  bad  on  the  sixth  day  that  I  made 
up  my  mind  that  we  might  remain  a  long  time  before 
breaking  free,  and  told  Macklin,  in  dealing  with  the 
issue  of  stores  and  equipment,  to  have  in  mind  the 
possibility  of  wintering.  I  had  taken  care  to  provision 
the  ship  with  a  view  to  this  eventuality,  but  it  would  have 
necessitated  the  most  rigid  economy  and  a  much  more 
monotonous  dietary  than  we  had  hitherto  enjoyed,  for 

148  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

it  must  be  remembered  that  the  bulk  of  our  equipment 
was  awaiting  us  in  Cape  Town.  I  did  not,  however, 
mention  the  possibility  to  the  men,  for  they  seemed  quite 
to  enjoy  the  break  from  routine,  and  I  did  not  wish  their 
minds  to  be  occupied  with  any  sort  of  gloomy  forebod- 
ings. I  encouraged  them  to  amuse  themselves  in  any 
way  they  could  by  taking  walks  out  over  the  floes  and 
by  playing  football.  They  were  not  slow  to  avail  them- 
selves of  the  opportunity.  On  one  occasion  I  watched 
Douglas,  Argles,  Carr  and  Macklin  earnestly  engaged 
in  a  strange  pastime,  which  more  resembled  a  free  fight 
than  anything,  and  consisted  of  flinging  themselves  at 
one  another  and  grappling  and  wrestling  fiercely  in 
the  snow.  At  the  finish  they  all  bore  marks  of  the 
contest,  Douglas  with  an  eye  that  threatened  closure 
within  a  few  days.  They  informed  me  that  they 
had  been  playing  American  football,  and  said  they 
enjoyed  it ! 

'*  Soccer  "  was  the  favourite  game.  I  frequently 
joined  in,  as  did  Worsley,  whose  fiftieth  birthday  we 
had  celebrated  a  short  while  before,  but  who  was  by  no 
means  the  least  active.  The  games  were  marked  by 
many  amusing  incidents.  On  one  occasion  Naisbitt 
while  chasing  the  ball  sank  suddenly  from  view  through 
a  hole  in  the  ice,  from  which  he  was  promptly  rescued, 
soon  to  be  covered  with  a  coating  of  icicles.  On  another 
day  we  were  visited  by  a  small  Adelie  penguin  which 
spotted  us  from  a  floe  some  distance  away,  and  came 
running  as  fast  as  his  short  legs  would  carry  him  to 
join  in  the  game.  What  he  thought  of  it  all  I  do  not 
know,  but  he  insisted  on  taking  an  active  part,  neglect- 
ing the  ball  and  fiercely  attacking  with  beak  and  flippers 
any  man  who  came  near.     Query  took  a  great  interest 

The  Ice  149 

in  the  visitor,  but  was  fiercely  repulsed  when  he  showed 
too  marked  an  inquisitiveness.  In  the  ordinary  way 
too  inquisitive  penguins  pay  for  their  temerity  with  their 
lives  and  go  to  swell  the  larder,  but  this  little  fellow 
showed  such  pluck  and  sportiveness  that  we  let  him 
go  free.  He  waddled  off  to  join  his  companions,  to 
whom,  no  doubt,  he  would  spin  the  most  marvellous 

In  honour  of  our  two  Irishmen,  Jeffrey  and  Mcllroy, 
we  celebrated  St.  Patrick's  Day  with  a  specially  good 
dinner,  for  which  Green  had  produced  some  shamrock- 
shaped  scones  tied  up  with  green  ribbon.  I  was  also 
able  to  produce  some  cigars  and  a  bottle  which  we 
cracked  for  the  occasion. 

On  the  1 8th  Worsley  and  Wilkins  put  down  a  dredge 
with  reversing  thermometer  attached.  At  first  steam 
was  used  for  heaving  up,  but  this  proving  very  slow  we 
fell  back  on  man  power.  It  was  hard  work,  but  the  men, 
as  they  always  do  on  these  occasions,  threw  themselves 
into  it  with  a  will,  and  we  soon  brought  it  to  the  surface. 
We  obtained  fifty-seven  specimens  of  quartzite,  tuffs, 
etc.  There  was  no  living  matter,  but  the  rocks  were 
filled  with  worm  cells. 

The  next  day  we  were  closely  invested  by  dense 
pack,  composed  of  heavy  old  pressure  floes.  On  one 
was  a  huge  sea-leopard  which  I  shot  with  my  heavy  rifle. 
With  the  assistance  of  Worsley,  Douglas  and  Watts  I 
brought  it  in  to  the  ship,  where  Wilkins  claimed  head 
and  skin  as  specimens. 

Later  in  the  day  I  went  with  a  party  composed  of 
Worsley,  Mcllroy,  Kerr,  Carr  and  Macklin  to  look  at 
a  berg,  distant  four  or  five  miles  from  the  ship.  It  was 
a  bright  morning  and  we  much  enjoyed  the  walk.     The 

150  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

ice  was  very  treacherous,  and  we  had  to  proceed  care- 
fully from  floe  to  floe,  making  many  wide  detours. 

On  the  morning  of  the  20th  the  outlook  was  bad,  for 
we  were  closely  beset  on  all  sides,  and  the  clouds  to  the 
north  showed  no  signs  of  *'  water  sky."  The  tempera- 
ture was  10°  Fahr.,  and  the  new  ice  was  freezing  more 
thickly  than  ever.  Macklin,  Carr  and  Marr  set  off  to 
visit  a  large  berg  which  appeared  on  the  horizon.  They 
thought  they  were  making  wonderfully  good  progress 
till  it  became  evident  that  the  berg  was  moving  rapidly 
towards  them,  charging  heavily  through  the  floe,  throw- 
ing aside  fragments  which  lay  in  its  path  and  leaving 
a  wide  lane  of  open  water  behind  it.  I  watched  it 
anxiously  as,  travelling  at  from  two  to  three  miles  an 
hour,  it  approached  the  ship,  and  I  feared  that  we  might 
be  involved  in  pressure  as  a  result  of  the  displacement 
of  floes  about  it.  To  my  relief,  however,  it  passed  about 
three-quarters  of  a  mile  astern  of  us  and  finally  disap- 
peared over  the  horizon  to  the  northward.  There  was 
something  awe-inspiring  about  this  huge  structure  as  it 
moved  inexorable  and  undeviating  on  its  path,  relent- 
lessly crushing  and  pushing  aside  the  smaller  structures 
which  sought  to  impede  its  progress. 

In  the  evening  there  was  a  marked  change  in  the 
weather.  The  temperature  rose  to  14.5°  Fahr.,  and  the 
day  became  more  dull  and  grey.  From  the  crow's  nest 
I  could  see  a  distinct  water  sky  to  the  northward. 

I  was  up  at  daybreak  on  March  21st  and  climbed  to 
the  mast-head  to  scan  carefully  the  horizon  to  the  north- 
ward for  signs  of  opening  up  of  the  ice.  There  was  a 
heavy  black  water  sky,  and  as  daylight  increased  I  could 
distinguish  fairly  open  and  easily  navigable  pack.  Un- 
fortunately, between  us  and  it  were  three  miles  of  dense 

I'Jioto:  ^port  cr'  ucnciai 



The  Ice  151 

heavy  floe  solidly  cemented  by  a  foot  of  new  ice.  An 
irregular  line  of  weakness  ran  through  the  heavy  floe 
towards  the  now  open  pack,  about  half  a  mile  distant 
from  the  ship.  I  thought  that  if  I  could  cut  my  way 
into  this  a  hard  and  determined  effort  might  succeed 
in  getting  us  free  or  at  any  rate  into  a  more  favourable 
position  for  escape  should  the  ice  about  us  begin  to  open 
up.  I  had  to  consider  very  carefully  whether  to  make 
the  effort  or  not,  for  the  coal  supply  was  such  that  we 
could  not  afford  a  day's  hard  steaming  with  no  tangible 

Accompanied  by  Macklin  I  walked  across  the  ice  to 
examine  this  line  of  weakness  more  closely.  It  did  not 
look  promising  and  I  cogitated  for  some  time  as  to  what 
to  do.  While  we  were  walking  back  a  crack  opened  in 
the  new  ice  ahead  of  the  ship.  It  presented  a  chance 
and  I  determined  to  take  it.  I  gave  orders  for  all  hands 
to  stand  to,  and  told  Kerr  to  get  up  full  pressure  of 
steam  so  that  at  any  minute  he  could  give  the  engines 
every  ounce  they  would  stand.  He  accomplished  this 
very  quickly,  but  before  I  had  time  to  get  under  way 
a  large,  solid,  heavy  floe  had  turned  across  our  bows  and 
was  completely  blocking  the  lead.  The  full  pressure  of 
the  engines  could  make  no  impression.  I  sent  Macklin 
over  the  side  with  an  ice  anchor,  and  put  all  hands  to 
warping  her  ahead.  After  a  long  effort  we  effected  a 
turning  movement  of  the  floe,  and  the  Quest,  being  able 
to  insert  her  bow  as  a  wedge,  slowly  but  surely  forced 
her  way  into  the  lead. 

After  some  hard  ramming  and  pushing  at  the  floes  we 
reached  the  line  of  weakness,  to  find  that  the  most  diffi- 
cult part  of  our  work  lay  before  us.  For  a  long  time, 
in  spite  of  tremendous  efforts,  we  made  little  headway. 

152  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

We  persisted,  however,  and  after  several  hours  of  hard 
ramming  and  squeezing  our  way  between  heavy  floes  we 
won  at  last  into  loose  pack,  and  soon  after  into  com- 
paratively open  water.  It  was  a  great  relief  to  me  to 
get  away.  Had  we  remained  frozen  in  till  mid-winter 
and  the  ship  been  involved  in  heavy  pressure  our 
position  would  have  been  a  precarious  one,  for  there 
would  have  been  little  daylight  to  enable  us  to  see 
what  was  happening,  and  there  would  have  been 
long  hours  of  darkness  in  which  to  contend  with  the 
heaving  pack. 

Throughout  the  whole  period  that  we  were  navigat- 
ing about  the  pack  edge,  I  was  constantly  made  to  feel 
how  extremely  fortunate  we  were  to  have  escaped  un- 
scathed from  the  ice  after  the  loss  of  the  Endurance. 
That  we  got  away  at  all  is  truly  marvellous,  for  not  once 
in  a  dozen  times  could  a  frail  ship's  boat  win  free  under 
similar  circumstances  where  the  floes,  coming  together, 
must  have  cracked  her  like  an  eggshell. 

For  a  while  I  continued  north,  entering  all  the  time 
a  more  and  more  open  sea  dotted  all  about  with  bergs 
and  large  solitary  pieces  of  floe. 

The  day  after  leaving  the  pack  we  encountered 
heavy  swell,  which  caused  the  Quest,  with  her  empty 
bunkers,  to  pitch  and  roll  in  the  most  uncomfortable 
manner.  Decks,  rails  and  running  gear  became  iced 
up  with  sprays  which  broke  over  her  gunwale  and 
froze  solidly,  necessitating  the  greatest  care  in  moving 

At  night  I  could  not  distinguish  white  horses  from 
growlers,  and  so  took  in  sail  and  lay  to.  I  sent  McLeod 
and  Macklin  aloft  to  take  in  the  topsail,  which  they 
found  an  unpleasant  job  on  account  of  the  treacherous 

The  Ice  153 

condition  of  the  rigging,  which  was  ice-covered   and 
slippery,  and  the  jerky  movement  of  the  ship. 

We  continued  on  at  daybreak  encountering  a  few 
bergs  but  no  floe  ice.  There  was  a  heavy  swell  from 
the  east-south-east,  and  though  the  wind  seemed  to  have 
dropped  a  little  squalls  of  great  violence  continued  to 
pass  over  us.  On  this  day  we  reached  the  maximum  of 
discomfort,  and  though  the  men  maintained  their  cheer- 
fulness I  see  now  from  some  of  the  diaries  that  it  must 
have  cost  an  effort : 

It  has  been  another  unpleasant  day  with  all  the 
discomforts  of  yesterday  accentuated,  the  ship  rolling 
just  as  heavily  and  all  gear  more  thickly  coated  with 
ice,  which  is  hanging  in  festoons  and  stalactites  from 
every  possible  place.  Sprays  have  been  flying  over  all 
day  and  everything  in  the  ship  is  damp.  There  is  no 
comfort  anywhere  except  in  one's  bunk,  and  even 
there  it  is  all  one  can  do  to  prevent  being  thrown  out. 
On  the  bridge  to-day  Commander  Wild  remarked  : 
"  The  man  who  comes  down  here  for  the  sake  of  ex- 
perience is  mad ;  the  man  who  comes  twice  is  beyond 
all  hope;  while  as  for  the  man  who  comes  five  times 
(himself) "    Words  failed  him. 

Poor  Query  is  utterly  miserable;  he  cannot  get 
a  minute's  rest  anywhere.  Nor  can  any  of  us.  Yester- 
day I  caught  my  thumb  in  the  jackstay,  and  it  is  so 
swollen  and  tender  that  to  touch  anything  gives  me 
agony.  This  beastly  motion  makes  me  sea-sick — I 
am  full  of  sorrows  to-day.  We  are  getting  near  to 
Elephant  Island,  the  home  of  all  foul  winds  that 
blow — what  crazy  impulse  sent  me  again  to  these 
abandoned  regions.?  (writes  Macklin). 

154  ShackIeton*s  Last  Voyage 

Indeed  at  this  stage  of  the  voyage  it  took  all  our 
fortitude  to  keep  up  our  spirits.  We  again  hove  to  for 
the  night,  and  the  gale  increasing  in  violence  we  lay  to 
all  next  day. 

It  moderated  about  midnight  of  the  24th,  and  we  set 
off  under  topsail  only  in  the  direction  of  Elephant  and 
Clarence  Islands. 





A  Sea-elephant  on   Elephant  Island 

Photos :   IVilktns 



THE  wind  hauling  ahead  about  6.30  a.m.  on 
March  25th  we  took  in  sail  and  under  steam  pro- 
ceeded south-west  by  south  in  the  direction  of  Clarence 
Island.  We  got  a  sight  of  it  at  7.35  a.m.,  but 
snow  flurries  obscured  it  again.  About  midday  the 
weather  cleared  v/hen  both  it  and  Elephant  Island 
showed  up  distinctly.  It  is  hard  to  describe  the  memories 
which  these  two  islands  revived  for  those  of  us  who  took 
part  in  the  Endurance  expedition.  Readers  of  Sir 
Ernest  Shackleton's  "  South  "  will  find  a  description  of 
our  arrival  and  landing — the  first  landing  to  be  made 
on  Elephant  Island.  We  stood  gazing  through  bino- 
culars picking  out  old  familiar  landmarks,  each  one 
reminiscent  of  some  incident  that  came  rushing  back  to 
the  memory.  There  was  Cornwallis  Island,  the  shape 
of  which  was  so  familiar,  and  beyond  it  Cape  Valentine, 
where  we  landed  eight  years  ago,  a  haggard,  worn-out 
and  bedraggled  party,  rejoicing  at  the  sight  of  firm, 
solid  land,  the  first  we  had  seen  for  nearly  two  years. 
We  had  just  spent  eight  days  and  nights  in  the  boats 
battling  with  ice,  darkness  and  storm,  toiling  unceasingly 
at  the  oars  with  brief  spells  of  the  most  fitful  slumber. 
There  our  old  Boss,  whose  indomitable  will  had  over- 
come every  obstacle  and  surmounted  each  difficulty  as 
it  arose,  lay  down  on  the  shingle  and  had  his  first  sleep 
for  eight  days — slept  for  eighteen  hours  without  a  wink  ! 


156  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

In  the  distance  we  could  see  Castle  Rock,  unmistak- 
able from  its  peculiar  shape,  and  beyond  it  we  knew 
lay  Cape  Wild,  though  invisible  just  now.  There  I 
wintered  with  my  party  while  the  Boss  went  for  help, 
living  hand  to  mouth  on  penguins,  limpets  and  seaweed. 
From  a  sentimental  point  of  view  this  was  the  place  I 
wished  to  visit  more  than  any  other,  but  I  knew  only 
too  well  that  it  did  not  provide  a  good  anchorage,  and 
I  was  anxious  while  the  weather  was  favourable  to  find 
a  suitable  place  for  ballasting  the  ship  and  obtaining 
sea-elephants  for  their  blubber.  We  therefore  set 
course  to  pass  between  the  two  islands  and  along  the 
south-eastern  side  of  Elephant  Island. 

As  evening  approached  there  was  a  wonderful 
mirage.  Looking  to  the  south-west  we  saw  a  number 
of  large  icebergs  poised  high  above  the  horizon  in  a 
sky  of  the  purest  gold,  whilst  all  about  and  in  between 
them  were  numerous  whales  spouting.  These  mirages 
are  by  no  means  uncommon  in  these  latitudes,  but  this 
was  by  far  the  most  extraordinary  I  have  ever  seen  in 
any  part  of  the  world,  and  certainly  the  most  beautiful. 
Later  on  the  sun  sank  with  a  peculiar  effect — both  Clar- 
ence and  Elephant  Islands  seemed  to  be  afire,  a  rosy 
glare  rising  from  each  of  them  to  the  sky.  Over  Cape 
Wild  lay  a  reddish-golden  glow  and  the  whole  appear- 
ance of  the  island  was  beautiful,  giving  an  impression 
of  the  most  peaceful  calm.  Any  ship  passing  the  island 
on  that  evening  would  have  carried  away  a  very  wrong 
idea  of  the  place,  and  I  am  sure  that  many  of  our  party 
who  had  listened  to  our  unqualified,  or  perhaps  I  should 
say  much  qualified,  descriptions  of  our  sojourn  here  must 
have  thought  we  were  rather  drawing  the  long  bow. 
However,  they  were  soon  to  learn  differently. 

Elephant  Island  157 

During  the  night  we  had  kept  a  safe  margin  between 
ourselves  and  the  shore,  but  with  the  advent  of  daylight 
we  stood  in  more  closely  and  kept  a  sharp  look  out  for 
possible  anchorages  and  suitable  spots  for  our  purpose. 
We  saw  none  on  this  side  of  the  island,  which  presents 
nothing  but  steep  mountainous  rocks  and  sheer  glacier 
faces.  As  we  approached  Cape  Lookout  at  the  south- 
western end  of  the  island  we  saw  a  small  spit  lying 
between  two  high  rocks.  The  wind  was  blowing  from 
the  west-north-west  and  this  seemed  to  offer  a  shelter. 
We  approached  cautiously,  sounding  continuously  with 
the  hand  lead.  As  we  drew  near  I  looked  carefully 
through  binoculars  for  signs  of  sea-elephants.  Penguins 
were  present  in  large  numbers,  but  I  saw  no  sign  of 
larger  game,  and  I  was  not  altogether  pleased  with  the 
place  as  an  anchorage.  I  therefore  decided  to  turn 
round  Cape  Lookout  and  look  for  a  better  place  on  the 
western  coast.  Once  round,  however,  we  met  strong 
head  winds  against  which  we  could  make  little  headway, 
and  the  coast  did  not  promise  anything  better,  so  we 
returned  to  the  spit  and  came  to  anchor  in  five  fathoms. 
The  surf  boat  was  lowered  and  I  went  ashore  with 
Wilkins,  Mcllroy,  Macklin,  Carr,  Kerr  and  Douglas. 
As  we  approached  the  spit  I  saw  several  seals  and  sea- 
elephants  ashore,  but  they  did  not  seem  to  be  in  suffi- 
cient numbers  for  my  purpose.  There  was  little  surf 
on  the  beach  and  landing  proved  easy.  Wilkins  and 
Douglas  went  off  on  their  respective  jobs,  and  I  landed 
Macklin  and  Kerr  with  instructions  to  reconnoitre  and 
look  for  seals  and  sea-elephants,  but  on  no  account  to 
scare  away  those  which  were  present.  I  went  back  with 
Mcllroy  and  Carr  to  the  ship  to  bring  off  more  hands. 
On  the  return  trip  I  landed  on  a  narrow  strip  of  beach 

158  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

overhung  by  a  large  glacier  which  abutted  on  the  north- 
west end  of  the  spit,  and  with  Mcllroy  and  some  others 
walked  along  it  to  where  the  sea-elephants  lay.  This 
is  a  practice  I  do  not  often  adopt,  for  one  never  knows 
at  what  moment  these  glaciers  may  calve,  sending  down 
masses  of  many  tons'  weight  on  to  the  beach  below. 
However,  nothing  happened  and  we  crossed  safely. 

The  landing-place  in  its  essential  features  closely 
resembles  Cape  Wild,  being  composed  of  a  narrow  low- 
lying  spit  connecting  the  main  island  with  an  outstand- 
ing rock.  This,  again,  is  separated  from  another  higher 
outlying  rock  by  a  channel  through  which  the  seas  surge 
with  some  force.  At  the  inner  end  of  the  spit  is  a  high 
shoulder  of  rock  which  bounds  the  glacier  on  this  side, 
whilst  on  the  far  side  of  it  is  another  similar  shoulder. 
The  main  part  of  the  island  seems  to  be  much  more 
accessible  than  it  is  at  Cape  Wild,  but  the  place  seemed 
to  be  no  more  suitable  as  a  site  for  a  permanent  camp, 
for  there  were  signs  that  the  spit  is  at  times  sea  swept, 
and  it  is  equally  unsheltered  from  strong  winds. 

Penguins  were  present  in  large  numbers.  There 
were  two  varieties,  ringed  and  gentoo,  which  had  segre- 
gated into  two  camps,  the  ringed  occupying  the  outer 
rock  whilst  the  gentoos  collected  together  on  the  inner 
buttress.  The  former,  which  derive  their  name  from  a 
thin  but  clearly  defined  ring  round  the  throat,  are  quaint, 
deliberate  little  animals  which  show  not  the  least  fear  of 
man.  They  are  the  most  wonderful  climbers  and  form 
their  rookeries  in  the  most  inaccessible  places,  often  on 
the  faces  of  steep  and  precipitous  rocks  where  the  foot- 
ing is  very  precarious.  After  coming  in  from  their 
fishing  it  often  takes  them  hours  to  reach  their  final 
positions,  but  they  show  extraordinary  patience  and  per- 

Elephant  Island  159 

severance  as  they  hop  from  ledge  to  ledge  and  from  one 
small  foothold  to  another.  They  are  often  to  be  seen 
on  the  slopes  of  large  icebergs  out  at  sea.  The  gentoo 
is  a  larger,  more  brightly  coloured  bird,  with  orange  beak 
and  legs,  and  has  a  small  white  patch  over  each  eye 
which  gives  it  a  curiously  inane  expression.  It  is  more 
shy  of  man  than  any  other  of  the  Antarctic  penguins, 
and  when  chased  can  travel  at  quite  good  speed  and 
dodge  cleverly.  As  we  came  up  a  number  of  both  kinds 
were  stalking  slowly  and  solemnly  along  the  beach. 
Amongst  them  moved  little  pigeon-like  paddy  birds 
{Chionis  alba)  which  look  very  pretty  at  a  distance,  but 
at  close  vision  are  seen  to  have  very  ugly  heads  and 
beaks.  They  darted  about  with  little  quick  steps  and, 
like  the  penguins,  watched  us  curiously,  no  doubt 
wondering  what  strange  new  creatures  we  might  be. 
Dominican  gulls,  skuas  and  Cape  pigeons  flew  all  about 
the  place,  and  numbers  of  blue-eyed  shags  perched  on 
rocks  close  to  the  sea  or,  with  necks  outstretched  and 
stiff  as  ramrods,  flew  with  an  intent  air  to  their  fishing 
in  the  bay. 

I  walked  across  the  spit  to  find  a  beach  on  the  other 
side  leading  down  to  a  small  bay.  My  mind  was  im- 
mediately set  at  rest  regarding  our  blubber  requirements, 
for,  lying  about  in  the  shelter  of  rocks  and  large  pieces 
of  stranded  glacier  ice,  were  a  number  of  seals  and  sea- 
elephants,  including  three  enormous  bulls,  each  of  which 
weighed  many  tons,  whilst  on  a  strip  of  beach  on  the  far 
side  of  the  little  bay  was  a  large  harem  of  cows.  I  shot 
those  on  the  spit  and  set  all  hands  to  the  flensing.  I 
have  a  mind-picture  of  my  men  :  Mcllroy,  Kerr,  Carr 
and  Macklin  busily  plying  their  knives,  arms  bare  to 
the   shoulders   and  red  with   blood.     Soon   the   place 

i6o  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

resembled  a  shambles.  I  loathed  having  to  slaughter 
all  these  creatures,  but  the  matter  was  one  of  the  direst 
necessity,  and  I  had  to  put  aside  any  feelings  of  senti- 
ment. I  have  never  at  any  time  countenanced  the  un- 
necessary taking  of  life,  and  whenever  it  has  been 
necessary  to  kill  I  have  always  insisted  that  it  should  be 
done  in  the  most  humane  way  possible,  and  that  steps 
would  be  taken  to  ensure  that  no  wounded  animal  should 

The  blubber  was  removed  in  large  strips  from  the 
carcasses,  and  a  party  led  by  Jeffrey  dragged  it  over  the 
beach  to  the  edge  of  the  water.  Another  party  secured 
it  to  lines  and  towed  it  out  to  the  ship. 

Whilst  the  flensing  was  in  process  a  curious  incident 
occurred.  I  had  given  orders  for  a  dozen  penguins  to 
be  killed.  One  gentoo,  in  taking  flight,  had  splashed 
through  a  small  pool  of  blood  and  came  out  with  white 
waistcoat  dyed  a  vivid  red.  He  went  to  rejoin  his  fellows 
on  the  hill,  but  they,  failing  to  recognize  him  in  his  new 
colourings,  pecked  at  him  so  viciously  that  he  at  last 
drew  away  and  went  off,  to  stand  disconsolate  and  soli- 
tary at  the  head  of  the  beach.  Some  little  while  later 
Watts,  who  had  not  witnessed  the  incident,  suddenly 
exclaimed  with  much  excitement,  "  Look,  there's  a  new 
species  of  penguin !  Quick !  Somebody  help  me  to 
catch  him  !  '*  Taking  pity  on  the  penguin's  outcast 
condition  I  drove  him  into  the  sea,  from  which  he 
returned  clean  and  white,  once  more  a  normal  penguin. 
This  time  his  friends  received  him  without  comment. 

I  pushed  on  energetically  with  the  work,  for  I  feared 
a  change  of  weather,  my  previous  sojourn  here  having 
taught  me  never  under  any  circumstances  to  trust 
Elephant  Island.    In  the  late  afternoon  the  wind  came 


Fhotos :  Dr.  Macklin 

rhoto:   Wilkins 


Elephant  Island  i6i 

round  to  the  south-cast,  and  a  swell  began  to  come  into 
the  anchorage.  I  kept  the  men  at  it  as  long  as  possible, 
but  at  last  such  a  surf  started  running  on  to  the  beach 
that  I  was  compelled  to  take  them  from  the  flensing 
and  put  all  hands  to  getting  the  blubber  aboard.  Before 
leaving  I  took  off  also  a  load  of  glacier  ice  for  melting 
down  to  water.  It  was  as  well  that  I  stopped  the  work 
when  I  did,  for  the  surf  increased  so  rapidly  that  we 
had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  getting  away  the  last  few 
boatloads,  and  in  assisting  to  push  out  from  the  shore 
I  got  soaked  to  the  waist  with  the  icy  cold  water.  Some 
hours  elapsed  before  I  was  able  to  change  into  dry 
clothes  and  my  legs  became  absolutely  benumbed. 

On  returning  to  the  ship  I  found  that  Worsley  was 
growing  very  uneasy  and  was  anxious  to  get  away  before 
darkness  set  in,  so  as  soon  as  the  boat  was  up  we  heaved 
anchor  and  proceeded  out  to  sea. 

Just  as  we  were  leaving  the  glacier  fired  a  salute  in 
the  form  of  an  enormous  mass  of  ice,  which  fell  with  a 
reverberating  crash  on  to  the  narrow  beach  below  and, 
entering  the  sea,  caused  a  large  wave  to  come  out 
towards  us.  I  was  glad  that  it  had  not  happened  earlier 
in  the  day  whilst  we  were  walking  underneath  it.  This 
was  the  source  of  the  pieces  which  we  collected  from 
the  spit.  Some  of  them  are  of  great  bulk  and  weight, 
and,  with  the  erratic  boulders  which  also  are  of  great 
size,  give  an  indication  of  the  force  of  gales  which  blow 
in  these  regions,  and  show  clearly  that  at  certain  seasons 
of  the  year  the  spit  is  so  sea-swept  as  to  be  untenable 
by  any  temporary  structure  which  might  be  set  up  there. 
These  pieces  of  ice,  except  when  salt  encrusted,  are 
crystal  clear  in  appearance,  and  when  melted  down  form 
the  purest  of  water.     When  we  were  living  at  Cape 

i62  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Wild  we  used  to  be  very  fastidious  about  our  ice.  It 
was  the  one  thing  about  which  we  could  afford  to  be 

During  the  night  of  the  26-2 7th  we  kept  well  out 
from  the  coast  to  avoid  outlying  rocks,  of  which  we  had 
seen  a  number  when  we  rounded  Cape  Lookout.  When 
morning  broke  we  stood  up  for  the  north-westerly  point 
of  the  island,  keeping  a  close  look  out  for  Table  Bay 
or  any  other  harbour  which  would  afford  a  good  anchor- 
age. The  reports  of  whalers  speak  of  a  large  bay  in  this 
locality  with  safe  anchorage,  where  the  landing  is  good, 
where  seals,  sea-elephants,  penguins  and  all  sorts  of 
seabirds  abound,  and  where  tussock  grass  grows  luxuri- 
antly. It  was  a  common  expression  amongst  the 
marooned  party  at  Cape  Wild  to  say  :  "  If  we  could 
only  reach  Table  Bay !  "  We  talked  of  the  things  we 
would  do  when  we  got  there.  I  remember  that  one  man 
(Greenstreet')  had  sketched  an  elaborate  plan  which 
made  all  our  mouths  water.  He  was  going  to  kill  a 
seal  and,  having  removed  its  entrails,  fill  it  up  with 
penguins  similarly  prepared.  The  seal  was  to  be 
covered  with  stones  and  a  blubber  fire  kindled  on  the 
top.  The  cooking  was  to  last  a  whole  day,  at  the  end 
of  which  we  were  to  eat  not  the  seal  but  the  penguins, 
which  had  thus  lost  none  of  their  own  juices  but  received 
those  of  the  seal  as  well.  Can  you  not  imagine  us  sit- 
ting with  tightened  belts  listening  to  the  proposal,  with 
our  mouths  watering  at  the  very  prospect  ? 

We  were  never  able  to  make  the  attempt  to  get  there, 
and  it  is  perhaps  as  well  that  we  did  not  do  so,  for  on 
this  occasion  we  saw  no  signs  of  anything  resembling 
the  paradise  we  had  so  fondly  pictured.     There  are 

*  First  oiBcer  of  the  Endurance. 

Elephant  Island  163 

places  at  the  north-west  end  of  the  island  where  a  land- 
ing could  be  effected,  but  the  coastline  is  composed 
largely  of  rocky  bluffs  and  sheer  glacier  faces,  some  of 
them  of  immense  size. 

We  started,  therefore,  to  cruise  in  a  north-easterly 
direction,  and  sighted  a  narrow  beach  some  miles  in 
length  running  along  the  foot  of  steep  mountains.  On 
the  beach  were  several  harems  of  sea-elephants,  each 
containing  as  many  as  forty  cows.  Jeffrey,  Wilkins  and 
Douglas  wished  to  go  ashore  to  carry  on  their  scientific 
work,  and  I  thought  this  a  good  chance  to  get  some  more 
blubber.  I  had  contracted  a  chill  as  a  result  of  my  pro- 
longed soaking  in  the  cold  water,  so  I  sent  Macklin 
ashore  with  McLeod,  Marr  and  Young  to  deposit  the 
scientists  and  bring  off  in  addition  to  the  blubber  some 
meat  for  cooking.  I  gave  Macklin  a  revolver  with  which 
to  dispatch  the  seals,  and  he  took  with  him  also  a  B.S.A. 
airgun  in  the  hope  of  obtaining  some  paddy  birds,  which 
make  very  dainty  fare. 

Shortly  after  midday  I  noticed  a  change  in  the 
weather  and  with  the  steam  Whistle  signalled  to  the  party 
to  return.  This  they  did,  bringing  a  small  but  useful 
addition  to  our  supply  of  blubber  and  some  paddies. 

We  killed  in  all  nine  sea-elephants  and  about  the 
same  number  of  seals.  There  were  many  hundreds 
which  we  did  not  molest.  I  found  on  my  return  to 
England  that  a  report  had  been  published  in  which  it 
was  suggested  that  we  had  slaughtered  all  the  sea- 
elephants  on  Elephant  Island.  As  a  result  some  alarm 
was  felt  by  the  directors  of  the  Natural  History  Museum 
at  South  Kensington  that  these  animals  were  in  danger 
of  extinction,  and  without  any  reference  to  me  a  protest 
was  published  to  that  effect. 

i64  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

I  can  only  repeat  what  I  have  already  said  :  that  I 
have  always  set  my  face  against  unnecessary  killing.  In 
all  the  expeditions  in  which  I  have  taken  part  I  have 
n€ver  seen  a  case  of  wanton  destruction  of  any  animal. 
I  believe  that  amongst  explorers  as  a  class  there  is  much 
greater  sympathy  for  animal  life  generally,  and  especi- 
ally for  those  types  which  they  have  known  in  the  natural 
state,  than  exists  amongst  those  who  know  them  only  as 
stuffed  specimens.  I  may  add,  however,  that  had  it 
been  a  matter  of  saving  the  life  of  any  one  member 
of  my  party  I  would  unhesitatingly  have  ordered  the 
slaughter  of  every  sea-elephant  I  could  find.  Without 
wishing  to  labour  the  point  I  think  the  following  taken 
from  Macklin's  journal  may  be  of  interest : 

I  do  not  know  how  to  explain  the  attraction  of 
this  life  ...  it  is  certainly  more  primitive  .  .  .  one 
meets  Nature  on  more  familiar  terms  and  learns  to 
love  her  and  all  her  works.  One  feels  drawn  into 
much  closer  companionship  with  the  lower  animals, 
though  I  am  not  sure  that  the  word  "  lower  "  is  always 
correct.  ...  I  have  no  doubt  that  what  I  have  written 
is  so  much  Greek  to  the  town-dwellers.  One  cannot 
explain — these  things  are  ''  felt  "  and  are  not  to  be 
learned  from  a  book.  .  .  .  The  English  natural  history 
museums  are  such  hopeless  failures ;  at  any  rate,  in  so 
far  as  they  attempt  to  instil  a  love  of  Nature.  They 
are  so  gloomy,  and  the  stuffed,  unnatural  creatures  in 
glass  cases  are  to  me  positively  revolting.  I  believe 
every  healthy  boy  gets  the  same  impression  and  comes 
from  them  into  the  fresh  air  with  a  feeling  of 
"  escape."     This  surely  is  bad. 

My  first  visit  to  the  Natural  History  Museum  of 

Elephant  Island  165 

New  York  brought  me  a  revelation.     The  building 
itself   is   a   bright,   well-lighted  place   and   contains 
things  of  the  most  absorbing  interest  beautifully  set 
up.    In  the  hall  the  whole  history  of  polar  exploration 
is  set  out  on  two  immense  half-globes;  there  is  the 
sledge  taken  by  Peary  to  the  North  Pole  and  the  one 
used  by  Amundsen  in  his  race  for  the  South  Pole. 
The  specimens  are  wonderful  and  the  setting  of  them 
is  the  work  of  artists  who  know  their  job,  for  every- 
thing  is   lifelike    and   natural.     In   a   snow-covered 
forest  glade  there  are  timber  wolves  on  the  prowl  after 
game,  flamingoes  stand  amongst  the  reeds  in  a  swamp 
where  the  muddy  ripples  seem  almost  to  move,  one 
can  gaze  into  tree-tops  and  see  monkeys  on  the  swing 
from  branch  to  branch,  reptiles  swarm  about  a  pool  of 
water  in  a  tropical  forest,  and  there  are  other  examples 
too  numerous  to  mention.     It  is  a  place  where  boys 
stand  fascinated,  and  one  to  which  they  return  again 
and  again.  .  .  . 
Space  forbids  the  full  entry,  though  much  of  which 
he  writes  is  interesting  and  very  true,  for  once  wedded 
to  Nature  there  is  no  divorce — separate  from  her  you 
may  and  hide  yourself  amongst  the  flesh-pots  of  London, 
but  the  wild  will  keep  calling  and  calling  for  ever  in 
your  ears.    You  cannot  escape  the  "  little  voices." 
They're  calling  from  the  wilderness,  the  vast  and  god-like  spaces, 
The  stark  and  sullen  solitudes  that  sentinel  the  Pole. 

I  now  set  off  along  the  coast  in  the  direction  of  Cape 
Wild,  and  about  4.0  p.m.  came  in  sight  of  the  large  rock 
lying  at  the  end  of  the  spit.  We  picked  out  many  old 
familiar  marks  about  the  place.  The  weather  was  look- 
ing very  unsettled  and  I  decided  not  to  attempt  a  nearer 
approach  before  darkness,  but  to  lie  off  for  the  night. 

i66  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Just  before  dusk  the  wind  increased,  blowing  up  strongly 
from  direction  north-west  by  west,  and  many  nasty  willy- 
waughs  came  gustily  down  the  glaciers  from  the  hills. 
Worsley  suggested  spending  the  night  under  the 
shelter  of  Seal  Rocks,  to  which  I  assented,  and  we 
crept  up  under  their  lee,  feeling  our  way  carefully 
with  the  hand  lead,  finally  coming  to  anchor  in  eight 

Seal  Rocks  is  the  name  given  to  a  group  of  very 
barren  islets  lying  about  a  mile  from  the  northern  coast 
of  Elephant  Island.  They  are  covered  on  the  northern 
side  with  lichen,  the  only  form  of  vegetable  life  which 
exists  in  these  regions.  They  are  the  resting-place  of  a 
number  of  seabirds,  and  penguins  go  there  after  their 
fishing  to  sleep  and  digest  their  food.  Our  berth  was 
by  no  means  a  comfortable  one,  for  the  rocks  are  not 
large  and  give  a  very  imperfect  shelter  from  the  winds, 
whilst  in  addition  there  are  round  about  them  a  number 
of  small  ledges  and  submerged  rocks,  the  proximity  of 
which  caused  me  no  little  anxiety.  I  was  very  anxious, 
however,  to  revisit  Cape  Wild,  as  were  all  those  who  had 
wintered  wifh  me  there,  and  I  hoped  that  the  weather 
might  moderate  by  daybreak. 

I  was  feeling  a  little  feverish  as  a  result  of  my  chill 
and  turned  in  early,  having  arranged  that  a  careful 
watch  was  to  be  kept,  and  having  given  instructions  to 
be  called  in  the  event  of  anything  untoward  happening. 
Macklin  relieved  Jeffrey  at  midnight,  the  latter  telling 
him  that  both  wind  and  sea  were  increasing,  and  advising 
him  to  call  me  at  once  should  he  get  the  least  bit  uneasy. 
This  he  did  at  about  12.30  a.m.,  to  say  that  we  seemed 
to  be  dragging  anchor  and  asking  me  to  come  on  deck. 
I  got  up  at  once.     The  wind  had  come  round  to  the 

Elephant  Island  167 

south-west,  so  that  we  were  no  longer  in  a  lee  and  the 
sea  had  risen  considerably.  The  rocks  showed  up  in- 
distinctly as  black  masses  against  scudding  clouds.  I 
perceived  that  we  could  not  stay  there  any  longer,  so  at 
once  called  out  the  hands  and  rang  the  engine-room 
telegraph  for  full  steam  in  the  boilers. 

We  started  to  get  up  anchor  right  away,  but  as  we 
shortened  cable  the  ship  began  to  drag  more  rapidly, 
and  as  there  was  little  sea  room  I  began  to  fear  that  we 
might  foul  some  of  the  rocks  or  ledges  before  we  could 
get  clear.  I  kept  her  going  ahead  with  the  engines,  but 
to  add  to  the  awkwardness  of  the  situation  the  cable 
fouled  in  the  chain  locker,  so  that  the  incoming  links 
would  not  enter  the  spurling  pipes  but,  piling  on  deck, 
jammed  the  winch.  I  ordered  Macklin  and  Carr  to  jump 
below,  taking  with  them  a  heavy  maul  and  a  chain  hook 
to  break  open  the  chain  locker  and  free  the  cable. 
Worsley  had  by  this  time  joined  me  on  the  bridge,  and 
we  had  some  anxious  moments  as  we  waited  for  the 
signal  that  all  was  clear,  peering  through  the  darkness 
to  where  a  seething  line  of  breakers  indicated  sunken 
rocks  and  reefs.  From  the  darkness  we  heard  the  weird 
"  jackass "  call  of  the  gentoo  penguin,  like  a  wild 
lament  for  a  ship  in  peril — fitting  properly  the  stormy 

At  last  the  cable  was  freed,  we  brought  home  the 
anchor  and  were  able  to  steam  away  without  damage 
from  our  unpleasant  neighbours.  All  the  time  the  wind 
rose.  For  a  while  I  steamed  east,  hoping  to  be  able  to 
hang  on,  for  I  was  loath  to  give  up  the  landing  at  Cape 
Wild  and  we  were  not  yet  properly  ballasted.  In  a 
short  time,  however,  the  gale  had  increased  to  hurricane 
force  and  such  a  steep  sea  started  running  that  I  could 

i68  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

think  of  nothing  but  the  safety  of  the  ship,  and  so  ran 
away  before  the  storm. 

Dawn  broke  on  a  stormy  scene,  and  our  last  view  of 
Elephant  Island,  seen  through  the  driving  spume  astern 
of  us,  was  a  very  different  one  from  the  calm  and 
beautiful  appearance  with  which  we  were  greeted  on  the 
day  of  our  arrival.  I  had  hoped  with  the  coming  of 
light  to  be  able  to  get  under  the  lee  of  Elephant  Island, 
but  to  have  attempted  to  put  our  now  light  and  un- 
ballasted ship  across  these  seas  would  have  been  fatal. 

I  had  to  make  up  my  mind  at  once  as  to  what  course 
to  adopt.     We  had  in  the  bunkers  sufficient  coal  for  one 
day's  steaming  which,  mixed  with  sea-elephant  blubber, 
might  be  made  to  spin  out  three  or  four  days.    To  beat 
back  to  Elephant  Island  was  therefore  out  of  the  ques- 
tion.    My  chief  object  in  making  for  Deception  Island 
had  been  to  obtain  the  coal  necessary  to  take  the  ship 
to  South  Georgia,  and,  even  under  the  most  favourable 
circumstances,  I  should  have  had  against  me  the  strong 
current  which  runs  out  of  Bransfield  Strait.     The  hurri- 
cane, though  driving  me  away  from  the  desired  landing 
at  Cape  Wild,  was  fair  for  South  Georgia,  and  under 
single  topsail,  with  fires  banked  and  the  engines  stopped, 
we  were  making  better  progress  than  the  Quest  had  ever 
accomplished  before.     Mcllroy  reported  that  he  could 
see  no  sign  of  change  of  wind  for  some  days,  though 
a  falling  off  in  force  might  be  expected.     This  was  just 
what  we  required.     I  decided,  therefore,  to  make  direct 
for  South  Georgia  under  sail,  reserving  the  fuel  to  enable 
me  to  steam  round  the  island  and  take  the  ship  into 
harbour.     I  called  all  hands  to  set  the  squaresail,  which 
was  coiled  in  a  frozen  mass  on  the  top  of  the  deck-house. 
This  was  covered  with  a  thick,  smooth  coating  of  ice  on 

Elephant  Island  169 

which  no  one  could  keep  a  footing.  We  were  com- 
pelled to  clamber  up  the  stays  and  seize  the  right  moment 
to  let  go  so  that  the  roll  would  shoot  us  across  to  the 
loresail  gaff,  to  which  we  clung  desperately  with  one 
hand  while  we  used  the  other  to  free  the  sail.  The 
Quest  rolled  and  pitched  in  the  liveliest  manner. 
Wilkins,  in  casting  off  a  frozen  lashing,  lost  his  grip 
and  I  saw  a  form  shoot  to  leeward  and  disappear.  A 
voice  behind  me  shouted  in  my  ear,  "  Wilkie's  gone !  " 
and  indeed  there  seemed  no  doubt  that  he  had  fallen 
overboard.  No  attempt  to  pick  him  up  was  possible, 
for  no  boat  could  have  pulled  back  into  these  enormous 
breaking  seas,  and  in  any  case  to  have  broached  the  ship 
to  would  have  meant  losing  the  masts  and  probably  the 
ship  as  well.  It  was  with  tremendous  relief  that  I 
saw  Wilkins  appear  some  minutes  after  and  go  to  the 
halliards.  He  told  me  later  that  he  had  shouted  that  he 
was  all  right,  but  the  sound  of  his  voice  was  swept  away 
by  the  violent  wind.  He  had  grabbed  the  backstay  and 
fallen  to  the  deck,  fortunately  without  damage. 

We  swigged  home  the  squaresail  and  felt  the  ship 
lurch  and  stagger  under  its  influence,  but  it  increased 
our  speed  and  enabled  us  to  put  the  miles  behind  us. 
We  tore  through  the  water,  which  bore  down  on  our 
stern  as  though  to  overwhelm  us  and  passed  sizzling  and 
hissing  along  our  sides.  We  were  swept  continually. 
One  heavy  sea,  coming  over  our  stern,  fell  with  a  smash 
on  the  poop,  carried  away  the  after-scuttle,  broke  the 
skylights  and  filled  the  after-cabin  with  several  feet  of 
water.  Dell,  McLeod  and  Marr  immediately  set  to  to 
repair  the  damage  with  temporary  structures,  which 
would  at  least  be  watertight.  Dell  and  McLeod  were 
required  for  another  job,  and  Marr  carried  on  alone. 

170  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

The  work  was  difficult  and  extremely  unpleasant.  The 
seas  kept  coming  over  the  stern,  compelling  him  to  grab 
some  support  to  prevent  being  swept  forward  with  the 
wash.  He  was  soaked  from  head  to  foot,  the  water 
freezing  and  casing  him  in  a  solid  suit  of  ice.  I  kept  a 
watchful  eye  on  him.  He  stuck  gamely  to  his  work 
and  made  an  excellent  job  of  it.  If  he  is  a  product  of 
Boy  Scout  training  it  says  much  for  the  organization.  I 
warn  Sir  Robert  Baden-Powell  that  he  will  find  himself 
hard  put  to  it  to  "  skin  alive  "  this  hefty  young  seaman.* 

We  continued  running  all  day  and  kept  the  sail  on 
throughout  the  night. 

On  March  29th  the  wind  abated  a  little,  but  it  still 
continued  to  blow  a  full  gale.  The  seas  had  not  gone 
down  and  the  Quest  was  thrown  about  like  a  plaything 
of  the  ocean,  so  that  the  man  at  the  wheel  had  his  work 
cut  out  to  maintain  the  course  and  prevent  her  from 
broaching-to.  I  hung  on,  however,  for  we  were  making 
good  progress  in  the  right  direction  and  saving  coal. 

We  had  irrevocably  cut  ourselves  off  from  any  chance 
of  seeing  our  old  winter  quarters  at  Cape  Wild,  which 
was  a  great  disappointment  to  us  all,  especially  to 
Mcllroy,  who  in  the  excitement  of  the  rescue  had  left 
behind  his  diary.  It  was  wrapped  up  in  an  oilskin  cover- 
ing and  he  had  great  hopes  of  recovering  it.  One  writer 
says  in  his  diary  : 

This  is  a  great  disappointment,  but  one  meets 
many  in  this  kind  of  work,  and  it  is  no  good  making  a 
moan  about  them.  ...  I  would  like  to  have  got  there 
all  the  same  (he  adds  irrelevantly). 

^  Referring  to  a  telegram  sent  by  Sir  Robert  Baden-Powell  to  Sir  Ernest 
Shackleton  just  as  we  were  leaving  England  to  the  effect  that  if  the  Scouts 
did  not  serve  him  well  he  would  "  skin  them  alive  "  on  their  return. 

Elephant  Island  171 

The  rest  of  the  run  to  South  Georgia  was  not  marked 
by  any  outstanding  incident.  On  the  30th  we  saw  a 
school  of  piebald  porpoises,  and  Worsley  reported  seeing 
a  "  blackfish  "  about  four  feet  in  length,  which  leapt 
several  times  out  of  the  water.  Numerous  birds  tailed 
in  our  wake,  increasing  daily  in  numbers  till  we  reached 
South  Georgia.  The  winds  dropped  a  little,  but  con- 
tinued to  blow  freshly  from  the  west-south-west  on  to 
our  port  quarter,  enabling  us  to  set  all  sail.  The  noon 
observation  on  the  31st  showed  a  run  of  197  miles.  This 
was  the  Quest's  record,  and  was  made  without  use  of  the 
engines.  On  the  same  day  we  were  struck  by  an  enor- 
mous breaking  sea  which  almost  broached  us  to  and  half 
filling  the  foresail  dropped  in  a  deluge  on  the  deck- 
house, pouring  in  through  the  ventilators  and  flooding 
the  cabins  and  wardroom.  Much  of  it  found  its  way 
through  the  main  hatch,  which  is  in  the  wardroom,  and 
wetted  many  things  in  the  hold.  As  we  approached  South 
Georgia  we  noticed  about  the  ship  a  number  of  small 
seabirds  somewhat  resembling  puffins,  with  short  tail 
feathers  and  a  very  quick  movement  of  the  wings  in 
flight.  Worsley  recognized  them  as  "  the  same  little 
flippity-flip-flop  short-tailed  birds  that  flew  round  the 
boat  and  annoyed  the  Boss  so  much,"  referring  to  Sir 
Ernest  Shackleton's  historic  boat  journey  from  Elephant 
Island  to  South  Georgia  during  the  last  expedition. 

On  April  3rd  we  were  in  the  vicinity  of  South 
Georgia  and  expected  to  make  a  landfall  about  dark. 
Worsley,  who  had  not  been  able  for  some  days  to  get 
an  observation  of  the  sun,  was  unable  to  pick  up  the 
island  and  we  lay  off  all  night.  A  number  of  soundings 
was  taken.  A  large  school  of  whales  surrounded  the 
ship  and  we  could  hear  their  "  blowing  "  all  about. 

172  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

April  4th  was  also  thick  and  hazy,  and  Worsley  made 
a  traversing  cruise  looking  for  the  island,  the  proximity 
of  which  was  indicated  by  the  presence  of  birds,  which 
we  saw  in  hundreds  with  many  young  ones.  In  the 
afternoon  the  fog  cleared  and  we  caught  sight  of  land, 
which  we  made  for  under  steam.  Night  coming  on, 
however,  we  stood  off  till  daybreak. 

At  dawn  on  the  5th  we  recognized  Anenkov  Island, 
and  decided  to  make  for  Leith  Harbour  round  the  north 
end  of  South  Georgia. 

During  the  afternoon  we  saw  several  steam  whalers, 
a  welcome  sight  after  having  had  the  world  to  ourselves 
for  so  long.  At  night  there  was  a  fine  sunset,  and  out- 
lined against  the  rosy  horizon  to  the  westward  these  little 
steamers  made  a  very  pretty  picture. 

We  entered  Leith  Harbour  at  daybreak  on  April  6th 
and  moored  to  the  buoy.  Scarcely  had  we  made  fast 
when  we  saw  the  motor-boat  coming  off  with  the  familiar 
figure  of  Mr.  Hansen  and  another  smaller  one  wearing 
a  white  yachting  cap.  It  proved  to  be  Hussey,  whom 
I  had  imagined  back  in  England  long  before  this.  Mr. 
Hansen  gave  us  a  most  cordial  welcome,  and  I  learned 
from  Hussey  all  the  news  he  had  to  tell. 



SIR  ERNEST  SHACKLETON'S  body  had  been 
brought  back  to  South  Georgia  for  burial.  I  insert 
an  account  written  by  Hussey  of  what  had  occurred 
since  I  saw  him  last. 

"  The  journey  up  to  Monte  Video  was  marked  by 
wretched  weather.  The  ship's  wireless  was  out  of  order, 
so  that  I  was  unable  to  acquaint  the  world  with  my  sad 
news.  We  arrived  on  Sunday  morning,  January  29th, 
and  I  immediately  went  on  shore  and  cabled  to 
Mr.  Rowett,  asking  him  to  break  the  news  to  Lady 

''  That  afternoon,  while  I  was  in  Wilson,  Sons  & 
Co.'s  office,  a  telephone  message  came  through  from  the 
Uruguayan  Government  asking  me  if  they  might  take 
charge  of  any  arrangements  that  had  to  be  made  there 
as  a  last  tribute  to  the  great  explorer.  I  acquiesced, 
and  they  immediately  set  about  bringing  Sir  Ernest's 
body  ashore.  Within  half  an  hour  they  had  sent  a  naval 
launch  out  to  the  Professor  Gruvel  to  fetch  the  coffin. 
It  was  met  on  the  quay  by  a  guard  of  honour  of  100 
marines  and  taken  to  the  military  hospital,  where  a 
guard  of  two  soldiers  was  mounted  over  it  day  and  night. 

"  Next  morning  the  medical  officers  at  the  hospital 
re-embalmed  the  body,  as  it  was  at  first  intended  to 
bring  it  to  England  for  burial. 


174  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

"  That  day,  however,  a  cable  came  from  Mr.  Rowett 
saying  that  Lady  Shackleton  was  sure  that  Sir  Ernest 
would  have  wished  to  be  buried  on  South  Georgia,  the 
scene  of  his  greatest  exploit,  and  asking  me  to  make 
arrangements  to  do  this. 

"  The  next  ship  to  leave  for  South  Georgia  was  the 
Woodville,  with  Captain  Leaste  in  command.  He  was 
most  courteous  and  sympathetic,  and  immediately  placed 
such  accommodation  on  his  ship  as  was  necessary  at  our 

"  The  day  before  she  sailed  a  commemoration  service 
was  held  in  the  English  church  at  Monte  Video,  Canon 
Blount,  and  Canon  Brady,  an  old  friend  of  Sir  Ernest, 
officiating.  The  coffin  had  been  transferred  from  the 
military  hospital  to  the  church  on  the  previous  day. 

"  While  Sir  Ernest's  body  was  lying  in  state  in  the 
military  hospital  the  matron  and  one  of  the  nurses  placed 
fresh  flowers  on  it  each  day  from  the  hospital  garden. 

"  For  the  memorial  service  the  church  was  packed. 
Many  members  of  the  Uruguayan  Government  were 
present,  and  representatives  from  nearly  every  country 
in  the  world  either  sent  wreaths  or  came  in  person.  The 
President  of  Uruguay  came  into  the  church  and  stood 
a  few  minutes  in  silent  contemplation  before  the  rough 
wooden  coffin  which,  covered  by  the  Union  Jack,  stood  in 
front  of  the  altar.  The  Republic  of  Uruguay  also  sent 
a  magnificent  bronze  wreath  to  be  placed  on  the  grave. 
The  French  Maritime  Society  sent  a  bronze  palm,  and 
Mr.  Ogden  Armour,  representing  the  United  States  of 
America,  brought  a  huge  wreath  of  lilies.  The  British 
Minister  at  Monte  Video  came  with  a  bronze  wreath  and 
a  memorial  plaque,  both  of  which  I  screwed  up  later  on 
the  walls  of  the  little  wooden  church  in  South  Georgia. 

South  Georgia  175 

"  At  the  conclusion  of  the  service  the  coffin  was 
carried  to  a  waiting  gun-carriage  by  ten  British  ex- 
Service  men.  Huge  crowds  had  assembled  to  pay  their 
last  tribute  to  the  great  explorer,  and  the  whole  of  the 
route  from  the  church  to  the  quay  where  the  Woodville 
was  lying  was  lined  by  troops.  Along  one  part  of  the 
route  women  showered  rose  petals  down  on  to  the  coffin 
from  overhanging  balconies. 

"  On  arrival  at  the  ship  the  coffin  was  taken  aboard 
and  the  Uruguayan  Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs  made 
a  short  speech,  in  which  he  said  that  not  only  England 
but  the  whole  world  was  made  the  poorer  by  Sir  Ernest's 
death.  The  British  Minister  replied,  thanking  the 
President  and  the  Republic  of  Uruguay  for  the  way  in 
which  they  had  honoured  the  dead  explorer's  memory. 

"  The  coffin  was  then  lowered  into  the  hold,  and  the 
Woodville  put  out  into  the  harbour. 

"  The  Uruguayan  Government  had  asked  to  be 
allowed  to  take  the  coffin  down  to  South  Georgia  in  a 
warship,  but  owing  to  the  bad  ice  conditions  which 
existed  at  that  time  I  considered  that  to  take  an  ordinary 
steel  ship  down  there  would  be  unnecessarily  risking  the 
lives  of  all  on  board  as  well  as  the  safety  of  the  ship. 
So  they  very  reluctantly  gave  up  the  idea,  but  when  the 
Woodville  left  next  day  the  warship  escorted  her  to  the 
three-mile  limit,  fired  a  salute  of  seventeen  guns — the 
highest  possible  honour  that  could  be  shown  to  anyone 
less  than  their  own  President — and  steamed  up  along- 
side the  Woodville  with  the  marines  formed  up  at  the 
salute  while  their  buglers  sounded  the  "  Farewell," 
which  is  usually  only  sounded  for  the  fallen  after  victory 
in  battle.  This  seemed  to  me  to  be  the  most  touching 
tribute  of  all,  symbolizing  as  it  did  their  idea  of  Sir 

176  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Ernest's  life-struggles  and  his  triumphant  passing 

"  We  reached  South  Georgia  on  February  27th, 
1922,  and  in  a  blinding  snow-storm  we  took  the 
coffin  ashore  to  the  little  wooden  Lutheran  church  at 

"  Sunday,  March  5th,  broke  clear  and  calm.  The 
managers  from  all  five  whaling  stations  had  assembled 
at  the  church  by  three  o'clock  that  afternoon,  and  a 
crowd  of  about  one  hundred  fishermen  were  present  to 
pay  their  last  respects  to  Sir  Ernest.  The  first  part  of 
the  funeral  service  was  said  in  English  and  Norwegian, 
Mr.  Binnie,  the  magistrate,  officiating.  Then  the  coffin 
was  taken  by  six  Shetland  islanders — all  ex-Service  men 
who  happened  to  be  working  at  Leith  Harbour  whaling 
station — to  a  light  decauville  railway,  and  carried  over 
tiny  mountain  streams  formed  by  the  melting  snow,  and 
past  huge  boilers  and  piles  of  whalebones  to  the  little 
cemetery  on  the  hill.  On  arrival  there  the  funeral 
service  was  completed,  and  with  the  British  and  Nor- 
wegian flags  at  half-mast  at  the  gate  of  the  cemetery 
the  coffin  was  lowered  to  its  last  resting-place. 

"  After  the  grave  had  been  filled  in  I  had  a  simple 
wooden  cross  erected,  and  on  it  I  hung  wreaths  which 
I  had  brought  from  Monte  Video  on  behalf  of  Lady 
Shackleton  and  her  children,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  J.  Q.  Rowett, 
and  the  members  of  the  expedition. 

'*  Many  more  floral  and  other  tributes  were  placed 
round  and  on  the  grave. 

"  When  the  funeral  service  was  over  Mr.  Hansen, 
the  manager  of  Leith  Harbour  whaling  station,  very 
kindly  offered  me  the  hospitality  of  his  house  till  I  could 
get  passage  in  a  homeward-bound  ship.     Nothing  had 

South  Georgia  177 

been  heard  of  the  Quest,  and  I  was  anxiously  waiting 
for  news  of  my  companions.  On  the  morning  of  April 
6th  Hansen  wakened  me  with  the  news  of  the  ship's 
arrival.  We  were  not  long  in  going  aboard,  and  I  re- 
ported at  once  to  Commander  Wild,  giving  him  a  full 
account  of  all  that  had  happened.  While  the  Quest 
was  in  harbour  I  went  aboard  and  shared  in  such  work 
as  was  necessary,  and  Commander  Wild  decided  that  I 
had  better  return  to  Monte  Video  as  quickly  as  possible, 
collect  all  Sir  Ernest's  gear  which  I  had  left  there  in 
store,  and  proceed  to  England,  there  to  report  to  Mr. 
Rowett  and  Lady  Shackleton  and  give  them  any  in- 
formation that  they  might  require. 

"  Accordingly  I  arrived  at  Monte  Video  on  the  Neko 
on  April  24th,  and,  accompanied  by  the  British  Minister, 
I  thanked  the  Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs,  Dr.  Buero, 
on  behalf  of  Mr.  Rowett  and  the  members  of  the  expedi- 
tion for  the  way  that  this  great  little  Republic  had 
honoured  our  late  leader's  memory. 

"  I  arrived  in  England  on  May  28th  and  was  met 
at  Southampton  by  Mr.  Rowett,  whose  many  encouraging 
and  sympathetic  cables  had  greatly  cheered  me  on  my 
sad  and  lonely  mission,  and  to  whom  I  gave  a  full 
report  of  all  that  had  happened  since  the  Quest  had 
left  England  in  September,  192 1." 

Whilst  Hussey  was  telling  me  all  that  happened 
there  flashed  into  my  mind  the  remark  Sir  Ernest  had 
made  when  the  Quest  first  entered  Gritviken  Harbour — 
"  The  cross  has  gone  from  the  hill-side !  "  When  he 
spoke  I  little  thought  that  when  next  we  should  round 
the  headland  and  look  across  the  harbour  to  those  slopes 
another  cross  would  be  there  to  replace  the  one  that  had 


178  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

gone,  erected  this  time  to  the  memory  of  his  own  brave 

Hussey  was  still  awaiting  a  chance  to  go  home,  for 
since  the  arrival  of  the  Woodville  there  had  been  no 
return  steamers.  The  Neko,  a  floating  factory  belonging 
to  Messrs.  Salvesen  &  Co.,  was  due  from  the  South 
Shetlands  in  about  ten  days,  and  he  hoped  to  secure  a 
passage  in  her.  I  was  glad  to  see  this  cheery  little  man 
again,  who  within  a  few  hours  had  settled  down  amongst 
us  as  if  he  had  never  been  away. 

The  first  work  to  be  done  after  our  arrival  in  South 
Georgia  was  the  getting  up  again  from  the  bunkers  of  all 
the  heavy  deck  gear  which  had  been  placed  below  as 
ballast  for  the  run  from  Elephant  Island,  where,  owing 
to  depleted  stores  and  small  remaining  supply  of  coal, 
the  ship  had  become  very  light  and  top  heavy.  It  was 
not  at  all  a  pleasant  job,  for  the  bunkers  contained  a 
considerable  quantity  of  blubber,  and,  owing  to  the 
heavy  seas,  the  gear  had  shifted  about  and  become 
covered  with  the  most  disgusting  mixture  of  coal  and 
grease,  which  had  to  be  removed  from  each  article  as  it 
came  on  deck.  The  remaining  pieces  of  blubber  were 
passed  up  and  dumped  overboard,  for  with  the  heat  from 
the  engine-room  they  had  started  to  become  very  offen- 
sive. This  done,  the  bunkers  were  cleared  completely 
and  made  ready  to  receive  coal.  Attention  was  then 
turned  to  the  ship  and  engines,  to  both  of  which  there 
was  a  good  deal  to  be  done,  as  may  be  understood,  owing 
to  the  severe  bumping  and  the  continued  bad  weather 
we  had  experienced. 

Under  Jeffrey's  direction,  Dell,  McLeod  and  Marr 
proceeded  with*  the  deck  work,  reset  up  the  rigging 
generally,  replaced  all  worn  gear,  and  put  everything 

;i  'i^t 



o  * 
3  -5 

/fl  s  'i 

>'V-H'<'    r 

^N      o 
'■  ^      J* 


y  .v.„    ;i 

./'  .vi'( 



::."*  v;i  ■  -.t.;'  ,  ^' 



South  Georgia  179 

into  shipshape  order  ready  for  once  more  proceeding  to 
sea.  The  greater  part  of  the  next  portion  of  our  journey 
would  be  in  the  "  Roaring  Forties,"  which  by  no 
means  belie  their  name,  so  I  was  particularly  anxious 
that  this  part  of  the  work  should  be  thoroughly  carried 

Kerr  and  his  staff  had  a  busy  time  in  the  engine- 
room,  where  all  parts  of  the  machinery  were  subjected 
to  a  complete  overhaul.  The  main  pump  was  taken 
down,  new  parts  fitted,  and  the  whole  put  into  good 
working  order.  The  hull  was  still  leaking  badly,  and  all 
the  time  we  were  in  harbour  we  had  to  keep  the  hand 
pumps  going  vigorously  whilst  the  steam  pump  was  out 
of  action.  It  was  found  that  the  engines  as  a  whole  had 
withstood  the  unusually  hard  conditions  much  better 
than  was  expected,  and  credit  is  due  to  the  engine-room 
staff  for  the  careful  nursing  they  gave  them  throughout 
the  period  spent  in  the  South. 

The  contents  of  the  hold  were  tallied  and  re-stowed, 
and  space  made  to  receive  the  mails  for  Tristan  da 
Cunha,  which  had  been  deposited  here  in  charge  of  Mr. 
Hansen.  Whilst  in  the  ice  regions  I  kept  the  boats 
provisioned  for  thirty  days,  but  I  now  reduced  the 
amount  to  supplies  for  ten  days  only,  as  the  larger  weight 
is  apt  to  make  the  boats  unhandy. 

I  found  it  necessary  to  take  aboard  some  fresh  pro- 
visions, and  a  small  amount  of  equipment  to  replace 
damaged  gear,  but  our  requirements  in  this  respect  were 
small.  I  was  fortunate  in  obtaining  from  Mr.  Hansen  a 
supply  of  fresh  potatoes,  which  are,  perhaps,  the  most 
valuable  of  all  foodstuffs  to  people  living  under  our 

Wilkins  and  Douglas  were  set  free  from  all  work 

i8o  ^        Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

about  the  ship  so  that  they  might  have  all  their  time 
free  to  carry  on  their  scientific  observations. 

A  certain  amount  of  carpentry  was  necessary  about 
the  ship,  for  which  work  the  managers  of  the  whaling 
stations  supplied  me  with  men.  The  broken  after-scuttle 
was  renewed  and  strengthened,  and  the  deck-house, 
which  had  leaked  badly,  re-canvassed  and  covered  with 
a  coating  of  red  lead. 

Throughout  the  whole  of  this  work  I  received  the 
most  valuable  assistance  from  Mr.  Hansen,  to  whom 
nothing  proved  too  much  trouble.  In  addition,  he  gave 
us  a  most  cordial  welcome  to  his  house,  where  we 
renewed  our  acquaintance  with  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Aarberg. 
It  was  indeed  "  Liberty  Hall,"  for  we  came  and  went 
as  we  pleased;  the  bathroom  was  thrown  open  for  our 
use,  and  there  was  always  an  unlimited  supply  of  hot 
water.  We  certainly  needed  it — words  cannot  give  an 
idea  of  the  luxury  of  that  first  long  wallow  in  the  bath. 
I  was  much  touched  by  Mr.  Hansen's  kindly  and  prac- 
tical hospitality,  and  tried  many  times  to  express  my 
thanks,  but  he  brushed  them  aside  as  if  it  were  all  a 
matter  of  no  moment.  Indeed,  I  was  surprised  at  the 
warmth  of  welcome  we  received  from  everybody  we  met. 
I  have  an  inkling  that  the  Quest  was  regarded  as  far  too 
small  a  vessel  for  the  undertaking,  and  that  the  enter- 
prise was  considered  a  somewhat  hazardous  one. 

While  the  work  of  the  ship  was  going  forward  I 
made  a  point  of  allowing  the  members  of  the  expedition 
as  much  time  for  rest  and  recreation  as  possible.  The 
period  spent  in  the  South  had  proved  a  trying  and  wear- 
ing one  to  everybody,  and  all  were  in  need  of  a  rest  and 
change  of  exercise.  Time  also  was  required  for  "  make 
and  mend,"  washing  of  clothes  and  attention  to  personal 

South  Georgia 


gear  generally,  which  had  been  impossible  whilst  the 
Quest  was  the  plaything  of  the  heavy  southern  seas. 

I  sent  the  men  ashore,  whenever  the  opportunity 
afforded,  to  walk  over  the  island,  play  football,  or 
yisit  the  people  employed  at  the  station,  of  whom  a 
number  were  British,  chiefly  Shetlanders.  There 
was  a  football  ground  behind  the  station,  situated 
at  the   foot   of   a  high   mountain   and   overlooked   by 

a  glacier;  the  ground  was  more  remarkable,  however, 
for  its  romantic  position  than  for  the  condition  of  its 
surface.  We  received  a  challenge  from  the  Shetlanders, 
which  I  accepted.  In  so  small  a  company  as  ours, 
numbering  nineteen  all  told,  it  was  not  easy  to  raise 
eleven  footballers,  for  many  were  Rugby  players,  and 
had  never  played  the  Association  game.  However,  we 
succeeded  in  putting  out  a  side  which,  after  a  good  game, 
defeated  the  Shetlanders  by  one  goal  to  nil.      Anxious 

i82  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

for  revenge,  they  challenged  us  to  a  return  match,  and 
beat  us.  Unfortunately,  the  opportunity  for  a  third  and 
decisive  game  did  not  occur. 

I  encouraged  incidents  of  this  nature,  for  they  pro- 
vided an  entire  change  from  the  routine  of  ship's  work 
and  served  to  draw  the  men  more  closely  together  on  a 
common  level  than  the  routine  ship's  work  could  ever 
do.  Also  they  gave  a  new  topic  for  conversation  and 
discussion  which  lasted  for  days. 

On  April  14th  the  N eko  arrived,  and  I  accompanied 
Mr.  Hansen  on  a  visit  to  her,  when  I  discovered  that  her 
master,  Captain  Sinclair,  was  an  old  friend  whom  I  had 
met  in  South  Georgia  eight  years  before.  He  readily 
consented  to  take  Hussey  to  Rio  de  Janeiro,  where  he 
could  transfer  to  a  mail  boat  for  home,  and  offered  him 
the  only  accommodation  available  on  board — the  settee 
in  his  cabin.  The  N eko  is  a  floating  factory.  Each 
spring,  as  soon  as  the  ice  opens,  she  proceeds  to  Decep- 
tion Island,  and  thence  as  her  captain  may  think  fit. 
She  is  accompanied  by  four  steam  whale-catchers,  which, 
when  they  have  killed  a  whale,  bring  it  in  and  lay  it 
alongside  the  parent  ship.  She  herself  is  provided  with 
boilers  and  vats  and  all  the  apparatus  necessary  for  try- 
ing down  the  blubber  into  oil.  The  pursuit  of  whales 
has  changed  largely  since  the  days  of  the  old  Dundee 
fleet,  when  the  actual  killing  was  carried  out  from  boats 
by  means  of  hand  harpoons  and  lances.  Now,  instead 
of  boats,  small  but  fast  steel  steamers  are  used,  which 
carry  in  their  bows  powerful  guns  from  which  the  har- 
poon is  fired.  Attached  to  the  harpoon  is  a  strong  rope 
coiled  ready  for  running  on  a  small  sloping  platform 
over  the  bows.  A  bomb  is  fitted  to  the  end  of  the 
harpoon   and   forms   the   point.     If   the   aim   is   good. 


Photos:  Wtlkins 


Plioto:  Dr.  Macklin 
WW.    NhW     lYlM     Ol-    W  H  \1  IK 

A  modern  steam  "  catcher  "  entering  harbour  at  South  Georiiia  throufih  newly  freezing  ice 

Fhoto:  W'itkms 


South  Georgia  183 

this  bursts  inside  the  animal,  causing  instantaneous 

In  the  case  of  the  stations  located  on  South  Georgia 
the  process  is  much  the  same,  but  the  shore  factory 
replaces  the  parent  ship  and  everything  is  on  a  larger 

The  newer  method  of  hunting  is  a  much  more  lethal 
one — for  the  whale;  from  the  catchers'  point  of  view  it 
is,  of  course,  much  safer  and  more  comfortable.  In  the 
old  days  the  chase  of  these  huge  animals  was  looked 
upon  as  a  dangerous  undertaking  and  might  be  regarded 
in  the  nature  of  a  sport,  for  the  whale  had  more  than  a 
sporting  chance  of  getting  away  and  the  hunters  stood 
a  good  chance  of  being  drowned.  Nowadays  it  has 
become  a  mere  business.  Nevertheless,  the  floating 
factories,  in  pushing  south  to  good  whaling  grounds,  take 
considerable  risks  of  being  crushed  by  the  ice. 

Captain  Sinclair  is  an  old  and  very  experienced  hand 
at  the  work,  and  in  addition  to  his  whaling  activities 
has  added  largely  to"  the  charting  of  the  South  Shet- 
lands  and  the  Palmer  Archipelago.  He  has  succeeded 
also  in  bringing  home  some  unique  live  specimens  of 
seals  and  penguins,  which  have  been  added  to  the  collec- 
tion in  the  Zoological  Gardens  in  Edinburgh. 

On  the  15th  we  went  to  Stromness  Harbour,  where 
we  were  welcomed  by  the  manager,  Mr.  Sorlle. 

When  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton,  accompanied  by 
Worsley  and  Crean,  made  the  crossing  of  South  Georgia 
during  the  Endurance  expedition,  it  was  here  that  they 
arrived  and  were  received  by  Mr.  Sorlle,  who  fed  them 
and  provided  them  with  hot  baths  and  beds,  and  was 
instrumental  in  fitting  out  a  relief  ship  to  go  to  the  rescue 
of  the  marooned  party  on  Elephant  Island,  getting  it 

184  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

ready  within  twenty-four  hours  of  his  first  hearing  of  the 
state  of  affairs.  This  relief  ship,  the  Southern  Sky,  was 
unfortunately  held  up  by  the  ice,  and  her  return  was 
dictated,  not  by  the  Norwegians  who  manned  her — they 
were  ready  to  hang  on  for  many  more  days — but  by  Sir 
Ernest  Shackleton,  who  was  anxious  to  get  to  the  Falk- 
land Islands  so  that  he  might  set  going  the  preparation 
of  a  larger,  properly  ice-protected  wooden  ship. 

I  decided  to  lay  the  Quest  alongside  the  Perth,  a 
large  oil  transport  which  acted  as  tender  to  the  station. 
A  strong  breeze  was  blowing,  which  made  the  Quest  very 
unhandy  to  manoeuvre,  and  whilst  Worsley  was  putting 
her  alongside  she  struck  her  bowsprit  against  the  steel 
sides  of  the  Perth  and  snapped  it  off  short.  This  might 
have  proved  a  serious  disability,  but,  fortunately,  Mr. 
Sorlle  had  a  spar  which  he  not  only  presented  to  us,  but 
had  cut  down  and  shaped  to  our  requirements. 

Here,  as  at  Leith,  we  received  every  kindness,  and 
we  had  hardly  made  fast  before  a  present  of  a  pig  and 
a  reindeer — the  latter  shot  by  Mr.  Sorlle  himself — were 
sent  aboard.  All  the  officers  were  invited  to  dine  with 
Mr.  Sorlle  at  his  house  in  the  evening,  and  we  received 
a  dinner  of  six  or  seven  courses  which  rivalled  anything 
to  be  had  in  civilization.  Afterwards  we  spent  a  very 
pleasant  evening  with  reminiscence,  story  and  song.  Mr. 
Sorlle  is  a  most  charming  host. 

Whilst  lying  in  Stromness  Harbour  we  experienced 
one  of  those  tremendous  hurricanes  which  are  character- 
istic of  the  southern  volcanic  islands.  Descending  from 
the  hills  without  a  moment's  notice,  it  blew  with  such 
violence  that  the  whole  surface  of  the  bay  was  lashed 
into  a  torn  mass  of  driven  water,  the  tops  of  the  seas 
being  snatched  off  and  blown  in  a  blinding  spume  to 

South  Georgia  185 

leeward.  One  of  our  boats  lying  alongside  the  ship  was 
swamped,  and  all  gear  that  would  float,  such  as  oars, 
bottom  boards  and  fishing  tackle,  were  swept  out  of  her 
and  lost.  Fortunately,  the  painter  held,  and  there  was 
no  damage  to  the  boat  itself. 

There  was  no  coal  available  at  Leith,  Stromness  or 
Husvik,  so  on  the  17th  I  proceeded  to  Prince  Olaf 
Harbour  to  see  if  I  could  obtain  what  I  required.  The 
whaling  station  there  is  the  property  of  Messrs.  Lever 
Brothers,  and  is  under  English  management.  On  my 
arrival  I  called  at  once  on  the  manager,  Mr.  Bostock, 
who  relieved  my  mind  very  much  when  he  said  he  would 
give  us  what  we  required  for  our  purpose.  We  accord- 
ingly lay  alongside  the  Southern  Isles,  the  oil  transport 
steamer  and  station  tender  which  was  to  supply  us. 
Here,  again,  we  received  much  help  from  Captain  Sapp* 
who  supplied  all  the  labour  necessary  to  put  the  coal 
on  our  decks. 

Whilst  we  were  here  Carr  developed  a  nasty  abscess 
of  the  face,  and  on  the  invitation  of  the  company's 
doctor  went  ashore  to  the  hospital,  where  he  could  get 
a  bed,  with  clean  sheets  and  other  comforts  not  available 
on  the  ship.  Macklin  was  suffering  from  an  inflamed 
hand,  the  result  of  an  accident  whilst  in  the  ice,  and 
Mcllroy  found  it  necessary  to  incise  it  for  him. 

On  the  19th  we  had  completed  coaling,  and  on  the 
20th  set  off  for  the  Bay  of  Isles  to  study  the  bird  life  of 
the  numerous  islands  dotted  about  it.  On  this  day 
Hussey  left  us  to  join  the  Neko  at  Leith.  He  had  taken 
his  old  place  amongst  us  and  had  joined  fully  in  all  the 
work  of  the  ship.  His  unfailing  optimism  and  cheerful- 
ness had  done  much  to  enliven  us,  and  it  was  with 
genuine  regret  that  we  said  good-bye.     I  think  he  felt 

x86  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

the  going.  With  him  went  Carr,  who  was  now  suffering 
a  good  deal  from  his  face.  Hussey  had  instructions  to 
take  medical  charge  of  him,  and  if  his  condition  became 
worse  to  take  him  home  on  the  Neko,  but  if  it  showed 
signs  of  improvement  he  was  to  hand  him  over  to  Dr. 
Aarberg,  to  await  our  arrival  at  Leith  Harbour. 

We  made  first  for  Albatross  Island,  under  the  lee  of 
which  I  lay  to,  and  sent  Jeffrey  with  the  boat  to  put 
Wilkins  and  his  party  ashore.  They  effected  a  landing 
in  a  small  cave,  and,  having  scaled  a  cliff,  reached  the 
summit  of  the  island,  where  they  found  albatross  and 
giant  petrels  in  large  numbers. 

Macklin,  whose  hand  prevented  him  from  working, 
asked  permission  to  go  with  them,  and  I  quote  from  his 
diary  : 

We  landed  on  a  little  beach  inside  a  cave  which 
was  occupied  by  a  number  of  sea-elephants,  which 
showed  their  resentment  of  our  approach  by  opening 
their  mouths  very  wide  and  making  stertorous  windy 
noises  which  could  hardly  be  described  as  *'  roaring  " 
— "  breathing  "  defiance  with  a  vengeance. 

In  the  enclosed  atmosphere  they  smelled  horribly, 
for  they  are  unclean,  swinish  brutes.  From  the  cave 
we  clambered  up  a  steep  cliff  to  the  top  of  the  island, 
which  we  found  to  be  irregular  in  shape  and  covered 
with  tussock  grass.  Wilkins,  with  the  assistance  of 
Marr  and  Argles,  immediately  set  about  collecting 
albatross  for  addition  to  the  natural  history  collections. 
These  birds,  when  seen  at  close  quarters  on  the 
ground,  prove  to  be  much  larger  than  one  would 
imagine,  being  about  the  size  of  large  geese,  but  with 
much  longer  legs.  Their  appearance  on  land  is  ugly 
and  ungainly,  and  contrasts  strongly  with  the  grace 


Fnotoi  :■  IVukins 



The  beak  of  the  young  is  thrust  right  inside  the  throat  of  the  parent 

Fhotos :    ivitkins 


South  Georgia  187 

and  beauty  they  exhibit  when  in  flight.  Wilkins,  by 
going  slowly,  was  easily  able  to  get  within  reach,  when 
he  grabbed  their  beaks  and  "  pithed  "  them  by  pass- 
ing a  needle  through  the  back  of  the  skull  into  the 
brain.  He  took  the  heads,  wings  and  legs  as  speci- 
mens and  made  them  into  neat  parcels  for  transmission 
to  the  museums.  Jeffrey  and  McLeod  had  stayed  to 
look  after  the  boat,  so,  being  at  a  loose  end  and 
remembering  Worsley's  ecstatic  remarks  concerning 
baby  albatross,  I  set  about  collecting  enough  of  them 
for  a  meal  for  all  hands.  The  island  was  covered 
with  little  paths  worn  by  the  birds,  which  formed  a 
regular  maze  amongst  the  tussocks  and  hummocks  of 
grass.  Here  and  there  one  came  across  little  circular 
plateaux  which  apparently  formed  a  meeting-place  for 
numbers  of  birds,  for  they  were  worn  absolutely  bare 
to  the  mud.  The  nests  of  the  albatross  are  placed  on 
the  top  of  small,  raised,  cone-shaped  mounds  com- 
posed of  earth  and  tussock  grass,  which  are  nearly 
always  situated  on  the  windward  side  of  the  island, 
so  that  the  birds  when  preparing  for  flight  have  merely 
to  spread  their  wings  to  get  a  good  take  off.  The 
inside  of  the  nest  is  hollowed  sufficiently  deep  to  allow 
the  young  bird  to  crouch  and  take  shelter  from  the 
winds.  The  young  are  pretty  little  things  covered 
with  white  down,  and  from  the  highest  point  of  the 
island  I  could  see  them  all  round  me  standing  out  in 
marked  contrast  to  the  dark  green  of  the  tussock  grass. 
The  giant  petrels,  "  Nellies  "  or  "  Stinkers,"  as 
they  are  variously  called,  nest  in  much  the  same  way. 
They  are  most  unpleasant  creatures  and  receive  from 
sailors  none  of  the  veneration  accorded  to  the  alba- 
tross.    We    had    been    ashore    some    hours    when 

i88  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Commander  Wild  sent  up  a  detonator  as  a  signal  for 
our  recall.  The  cliffs  on  the  side  where  we  had  landed 
are  steep  and  overhanging,  so  that  we  had  to  approach 
cautiously,  and  had  some  difficulty  in  finding  the  way 
back  to  our  cave.  We  at  length  found  the  spot  where 
we  had  ascended.  I  flung  my  collection  of  birds  over 
the  cliff  to  be  picked  up  below,  and  all  of  us  having 
got  safely  down  we  rowed  back  to  the  ship. 

Macklin,  in  speaking  of  "  the  veneration  accorded 
to  the  albatross,"  voices  a  yery  old  superstition 
amongst  seamen  of  the  old  sailing  ship  days.  When  I 
first  went  to  sea  as  a  boy  this  was  still  a  common  belief 
amongst  sailors,  but  though  there  are  a  few  of  these  old- 
timers  left  who  still  hold  to  the  old  romantic  ideas,  they 
are  becoming  more  and  more  scarce.  Romance  is  not 
dead,  as  Kipling  says,  but  it  moves  with  the  times. 
Masefield  says  : 

Them  birds  goin'  fishin'  is  nothin'  but  souls  o'  the  drowned, 
Souls  o'  the  drowned  an'  the  kicked  as  are  never  no  more ; 

An'  that  there  haughty  old  albatross  cruisin'  around. 
Belike  he's  Admiral  Nelson  or  Admiral  Noah. 

I  recalled  the  party  on  account  of  the  weather,  for  a 
strong  wind  had  blown  up,  the  seas  were  increasing  and 
there  were  indications  of  a  heavy  storm.  I  did  not  care 
to  be  caught  with  the  Quest  on  a  lee  shore,  so  went  back 
to  Prince  Olaf  Harbour,  where  we  found  that  all  their 
own  whale  catchers  had  returned  for  shelter.  In  addi- 
tion there  were  a  number  belonging  to  other  stations 
which  had  put  in  here  till  the  weather  should  abate.  We 
had  for  dinner  the  next  night  the  baby  albatross  which 
Macklin  had  brought  off.  This  was  the  first  food  ob- 
tained by  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  on  his  arrival  at  South 

South  Georgia  189 

Georgia  from  the  boat  journey,  and  often  had  we  listened 
to  Worsley's  telling  of  the  story,  this  much  of  which 
never  varied  :  "  Baby  albatross  just  off  the  nest — we  ate 
them !  By  jove,  they  were  good,  damn  good !  "  By 
one  of  life's  little  ironies  he  was  having  dinner  ashore 
that  night  and  so  missed  them;  his  disappointment  on 
hearing  of  it  was  keen. 

On  the  22nd,  the  weather  having  abated  somewhat, 
we  left  to  carry  out  an  extensive  series  of  soundings 
about  the  north-western  end  of  South  Georgia.  This  we 
accomplished  in  spite  of  very  bad  weather.  The  Quest, 
as  usual,  behaved  abominably,  having  a  most  uncomfort- 
able motion  as  we  butted  into  the  head  seas,  which  sent 
the  spray  in  clouds  high  over  the  yards. 

We  returned  to  Prince  Olaf  Harbour  on  the  25th. 
There  was  still  much  to  be  done,  and  Mr.  Bostock  kindly 
lent  me  his  shore  carpenter  for  some  jobs  that  were  still 
outstanding  on  the  ship. 

On  the  27th  we  said  good-bye  to  our  friends  and  left 
for  Leith,  passing  en  route  the  Woodville,  which  was 
coming  up  the  coast,  and  presented  a  fine  sight  as  she 
dipped  her  nose  deeply  into  the  swell. 

We  arrived  in  Leith  Harbour  in  a  blinding  snow 
squall  which  made  mooring  to  the  buoy  a  difficult  matter. 
The  Quest's  engines  were  of  such  low  power  that  man- 
oeuvring in  close  spaces  was  an  extremely  difficult  matter 
during  the  squalls,  which  came  out  of  the  mountains  with 
hurricane  force  and  startling  suddenness. 

On  the  29th  Mr.  Hansen  was  able  to  make  room  for 
us  alongside  his  little  pier,  where  we  proceeded  to  take 
in  water.  Owing  to  the  low  temperature  the  water  in 
the  hose  froze  solid  and  it  became  necessary  to  clear  the 
galley  to  thaw  it,  the  process  being  carried  out  section 

igo  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

by  section  till  all  was  clear.  Green  had  the  dinner  in 
process  of  cooking,  and  was  quite  perturbed  when  he 
had  to  sweep  away  all  his  pots  and  pans  to  make  room 
for  the  hose — such  is  an  example  of  what  a  cook  has  to 
put  up  with  at  sea. 

On  May  ist  we  took  aboard  what  stores  we  required 
and  the  mails  for  Tristan  da  Cunha.  We  received  from 
Mr.  Hansen  some  final  presents  in  the  form  of  a  pig  and 
several  small  but  useful  sundries,  and  from  Captain 
Manson  of  the  Albuera  an  additional  two  crates  of  fresh 

On  the  2nd  we  said  good-bye  to  Leith  Harbour, 
which  we  had  regarded  as  our  South  Georgia  home  and 
where  we  had  received  so  much  kindness,  not  only  from 
Mr.  Hansen,  the  manager,  who  had  done  everything  in 
his  power  to  assist  us,  but  from  Dr.  Aarberg,  who  had 
looked  after  Carr  whilst  we  had  been  carrying  out  the 
soundings  about  the  island  and  had  been  of  assistance 
to  the  surgeons  in  many  ways.  Our  thanks  are  due  to 
Mrs.  Aarberg  also,  for  with  much  kindly  thoughtfulness 
she  had  asked  us  to  entrust  to  her  care  such  articles  of 
clothing  as  might  require  the  "  stitch  in  time." 

As  a  result  of  our  stay  we  were  refreshed  and  full  of 
vigour,  for  the  spell  ashore  and  in  harbour  had  done  us 
all  good.  Thanks  also  to  the  various  managers  we  had 
been  able  to  vary  the  diet  from  our  own  preserved  pro- 
visions to  fresh  food  in  the  form  of  pork,  reindeer  and 
whale-meat,  which  provided  a  most  pleasant  change. 
We  were  able  to  catch  also  Cape  pigeons  and  albatross, 
which  when  properly  cooked  make  quite  good  eating. 
The  former  have  an  oily  taste  which  can  be  largely 
removed  by  soaking  them  for  twenty-four  hours  in  dilute 




Photos:  Dr.  Macklin 
A  winter  view  of  Gritviken  Harbour,  with  the  magistrate's  house  in  the  foreground 



Cd    -«« 
£    w 

2  o 

^   I 

<  2 






South  Georgia  191 

I  seized  every  chance  of  sending  away  the  boats  to 
catch  fresh  fish,  which  are  found  in  great  quantity  about 
the  coast.  Macklin,  Jeffrey,  Green  and  Hussey  (whilst 
he  was  with  us)  were  those  most  often  engaged  in  this 
work,  which  was  not  always  pleasant.  An  entry  in  one 
diary  reads  : 

Some  people  fish  for  fun,  some  consider  it  a  sport, 
others  fish  because  they  have  blooming'  well  got  to. 
I  am  one  of  them.  Down  here  the  job  is  often  any- 
-  thing  but  a  joyous  one  in  cold  driving  wind  and  snow, 
fingers  so  cold  that  one  can  scarcely  remove  the  hooks 
from  the  fishes'  mouths.  Sometimes  the  blizzards 
sweep  down  and  it  is  all  we  can  do  to  fight  our  way 
inch  by  inch  back  to  the  ship.  .  .  . 

Macklin  writes  in  this  connexion  : 

The  fish  here  are  of  excellent  quality  and  have 
the  peculiarity  that  when  cooked  they  do  not  taste 
fishy.  Green  usually  fries  them  in  olive  oil  and  they 
are  particularly  good.  The  best  spots  for  finding  fish 
are  in  belts  of  kelp  close  to  the  edge  where  the  tides 
sweep  in  and  out.  Whale  meat  (not  blubber)  makes  a 
good  bait  and  a  spinner  (or  any  piece  of  bright  tin) 
helps  to  attract  the  fish.  One  can  usually  moor  the 
boat  to  the  strands  of  kelp,  but  it  is  advisable  always 
to  have  on  board  a  small  kedge  anchor  and  a  good 
length  of  line  in  case  of  being  swept  away  by  the 
blizzards  which  blow  from  the  hills  with  strong,  sudden 

Green  is  a  great  enthusiast,  and  is  always  willing 
to  come,  whatever  the  weather.  .  .  . 

For  the  substitution  of  the  adjective  I  apologize  to  the  entrant. 

192  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

There  is  no  sport  in  the  actual  fishing,  for  the  fish 
abound  in  great  quantities  and  are  very  sluggish.  The 
chief  art  lies  in  knowing  just  where  to  go  for  them. 
There  are  two  kinds,  which  we  speak  of  as  "  ordinary  " 
fish  and  "  crocodile  "  fish.  The  first,  as  the  name  im- 
plies, have  nothing  peculiar  about  them.  The  latter 
have  immense  mouths  with  crocodile-shaped  jaws  and 
look  hideous.  The  tail  is  small,  and  indeed  it  may  be 
said  that  there  is  more  mouth  than  anything  else. 

The  trip  to  Gritviken  was  uneventful  and  we  arrived 
there  the  same  day. 

Before  leaving  South  Georgia  we  had  rather  a  sad 
duty  to  perform.  For  a  long  time  I  had  desired  to  erect 
some  mark  which  would  serve  to  perpetuate  the  memory 
of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton.  We  had  no  time  to  do  it 
before  we  left  for  the  South,  for  every  day  was  precious 
and  it  was  essential  that  we  should  get  away  at  the 
earliest  possible  moment.  After  some  consideration  I 
decided  that  the  mark  should  take  the  form  of  a  cairn 
surmounted  by  a  cross,  and  I  selected  as  a  site  for  it  a 
prominent  spot  on  the  headland  which  stands  out  from 
the  lower  slopes  of  Duse  Fell,  at  the  entrance  to  Grit- 
viken harbour.  I  determined  that  it  should  be  the  work 
of  his  comrades,  something  which  we  ourselves  could 
create  without  help  from  outside  sources.  Everyone  on 
board  was  anxious  to  have  a  hand  in  the  building,  so 
I  arranged  things  that  they  might  do  so.  On  the  night 
of  our  arrival  the  temperature  fell  very  low  and  the 
surface  of  the  harbour  froze  over,  not  sufficiently  to 
permit  of  walking  but  enough  to  make  it  an  extremely 
difficult  matter  to  get  the  boat  to  the  shore.  Also  snow 
fell  thickly.  We  broke  a  way  through  the  ice  and  pro- 
ceeded to  the  headland,  where  we  made  a  search  for 

South  Georgia  193 

suitable  building  stone.  There  was  none  convenient, 
and  to  obtain  it  we  had  to  go  some  distance  up  the  hill- 
side to  where  a  shoulder  of  rock  jutted  out  through 
the  tussock  grass.  Having  removed  the  snow  we  bored 
the  rock  and  blasted  it  with  sabulite,  afterwards  breaking 
away  suitable  pieces  with  crowbar  and  pick.  For  sledg- 
ing it  down  the  hill  we  had  to  make  special  box-con- 
tainers; even  then  with  the  steepness  of  the  declivity 
and  the  roughness  of  the  track  it  was  a  difficult  matter 
to  prevent  the  loads  from  falling  off.  The  work  was 
awkward  and  hard;  on  several  occasions  the  sledges 
broke  away  and  careered  down  the  slippery  hillside  with 
the  men  clinging  desperately  behind.  No  one  grudged 
the  labour  and  time  spent,  for  it  was  the  last  job  we 
should  do  for  the  Boss.  The  foundations  were  laid  and 
the  cairn  began  to  grow.  There  were  no  expert  masons 
amongst  us,  but  the  work  when  completed  had  a  most 
pleasing  appearance.  Into  the  stone  we  cemented  a 
brass  plate  on  which  was  engraved  very  simply  : 



died  here,  january  5th,  i922. 

erected  by  his  comrades. 

The  cairn  is  solid  and  will  stand  the  ravages  of  frost 
and  blizzards  for  many  years  to  come. 

It  will  be  the  first  object  picked  out  by  any  ship 
entering  the  harbour,  and  to  anyone  looking  back  as 
the  vessel  steams  away  it  will  stand  out  in  lonely  promi- 
nence long  after  the  station  has  disappeared  from  view. 
It  can  be  seen  also  from  every  part  of  the  harbour. 

Our  last  act  before  leaving  was  to  pay  a  visit  to  the 
Boss's  grave,  for  which  purpose  I  gathered  together  all 


194  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

those  who  had  served  under  him  on  the  Endurance  and 
had  shared  with  him  all  the  trials  and  vicissitudes  that 
followed  her  loss  in  the  ice.  There  were,  in  addition  to 
myself,  Worsley,  Macklin,  Mcllroy,  Kerr,  Green  and 
McLeod.  That  I  included  none  of  the  newer  men  who 
had  known  him  for  so  short  awhile  casts  no  shadow  of 
aspersion  upon  them.  My  feelings  in  the  matter  are 
hard  to  describe.  We  were  joined  to  each  other  and 
to  him  by  ties  so  strongly  welded  through  the  long 
months  of  common  danger  and  uncertainty  that  I  felt 
there  would  be  something  wrong  in  introducing  anything 
in  the  nature  of  a  less  intimate  element. 

So  our  little  party  rowed  across  the  bay,  walked  to 
the  little  graveyard  and  gathered  for  the  last  time  round 
his  grave.  It  was  deeply  snow-covered.  We  carefully 
removed  the  snow  and  disclosed  a  number  of  bronze 
wreaths :  from  Lady  Shackleton  and  from  numerous 
friends  and  relatives  at  home.  There  were  others  from 
the  Uruguayan  Republic,  the  British  residents  in  Uru- 
guay, the  Freemasons  of  Uruguay  and  the  French  Mari- 
time Society.  Two  others  hang  in  the  little  church, 
placed  there  by  Hussey  :  one  from  His  Majesty  King 
George  V  and  the  British  people,  the  other  from  his 
old  schoolfellows  resident  in  South  America.  There 
was  also  the  flower  wreath  placed  with  such  kindly 
thought  by  the  doctor's  wife,  Mrs.  Aarberg. 

The  graveyard  is  a  simple  little  place.  In  it  are 
already  a  few  crosses,  some  of  them  very  old,  mute 
reminders  of  forgotten  tragedies.  Four  of  them  mark 
the  resting-places  of  officers  and  men  of  the  sailing  ship 
Esther,  of  London.  They  had  died  of  typhus  fever 
and  were  buried  here  in  1846.  There  is  one  inscribed 
to  W.  H.  Dyke,  Surgeon,  who  in  his  devotion  to  duty 

South  Georgia  195 

in  attending  the  sick  had  also  contracted  the  disease  and 
died.  There  are  some  newer  crosses  erected  to  Nor- 
wegian whalers  who  had  lost  their  lives  in  the  arduous 
calling  which  brings  them  to  these  stormy  waters.  All 
of  them  are  the  graves  of  strong  men. 

It  is  a  fitting  environment.  Gritviken  is  a  romantic 
spot.  All  around  are  big  mountains,  bold  in  outline 
and  snow-covered.  Below  lies  one  of  the  most  perfect 
little  harbours  in  the  world,  at  times  disturbed  by  the 
fierce  winds  from  the  hills  and  lashed  by  the  gusty 
squalls  to  a  mass  of  flying  spume  and  spindrift.  Often 
it  lies  calm  and  peaceful,  bathed  in  glorious  sunshine 
and  reflecting  in  its  deeps  the  high  peaks  around,  whilst 
the  sea-birds,  "  souls  of  old  mariners,"  circle  in  sweep- 
ing flights  above  its  surface  and  fill  the  air  with  the 
melancholy  of  their  cries.  An  ideal  resting-place  this 
for  the  great  explorer  who  felt,  more  than  most  men,  the 
glamour  of  such  surroundings. 

So  we  said  good-bye  to  the  "  Old  Boss,"  and  I  who 
have  served  with  him  through  four  expeditions  know 
that  if  he  could  have  chosen  his  own  resting-place  it 
would  have  been  just  here. 

Here — here*s  his  place,  where  meteors  shoot,  clouds  form, 

Ligihtnings  are  loosened, 
Stars  come  and  g-o!    Let  joy  break  with  the  storm, 

Peace  let  the  dew  send ! 
Lofty  designs  must  close  in  like  effects : 

Loftily  lying", 
Leave  him — still  loftier  than  the  world  suspects. 

Living  and  dying.      —Robert  Browning. 

We  had  still  some  work  to  do  before  finally  setting 
course  for  Tristan  da  Cunha. 

Before  leaving  Gritviken  I  entrusted  our  last  lot  of 

196  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

letters  and  messages  for  home  to  Mr.  Binnie,  the  magis- 
trate, who,  together  with  the  other  Government  repre- 
sentatives on  the  island,  had  been  very  helpful  to  us  in 
many  ways. 

We  went  alongside  the  little  pier  where  we  hardened 
up'  the  water  tanks.  Mr.  Jacobsen  paid  a  last  visit  to 
the  ship  and  presented  us  with  a  parting  present  in  the 
form  of  a  fine  young  sow,  which  was  carried  aboard  in 
a  box,  receiving  the  excited  attentions  of  Query.  I  did 
not  kill  her  at  once,  intending  to  keep  and  feed  her  up 
so  that  we  might  have  some  fresh  meat  when  at  sea. 
Someone  gave  her  the  name  "  Bridget,"  and  so  she  was 
known  until  her  demise  some  weeks  later  at  the  hands 
of  Dell,  who  did  our  butchering. 

We  received  also  from  Mr.  Jacobsen  some  packets  of 
dried  Swedish  oaten  cakes,  which  were  of  particular 
interest  in  that  they  had  formed  part  of  the  stores  of 
Filchner's  German  expedition  which  had  come  to  grief 
and  been  abandoned  here.  They  were  still,  after  eleven 
years,  in  excellent  condition. 

We  left  on  May  7th  and  had  been  some  hours  at 
sea  when  we  discovered  a  stowaway  aboard.  This  was 
''  Micky,"  a  small  black-and-white  dog  belonging  to 
Mr.  Binnie,  the  magistrate.  He  was  discovered  by 
Macklin  who,  whilst  descending  into  the  hold,  stepped 
in  the  darkness  upon  something  which  moved  and  yelped 
and  which  proved,  upon  being  dragged  to  the  light  for 
inspection,  to  be  this  animal.  We  lavished  upon  him 
no  loving  remarks,  but  knowing  that  Mr.  Binnie  set 
great  store  by  him  I  put  back  and  in  the  small  hours  of 
the  morning  sent  Jeffrey  with  the  boat  to  put  him  ashore, 
having  previously  tied  to  his  neck  a  message  to  Binnie, 

*  A  sea  term,  meaning  that  we  filled  the  tanks  full  to  the  top. 

South  Georgia  197 

explaining  his  disappearance  and  requesting  him  as  a 
magistrate  to  award  a  punishment  of  at  least  three  days 
jail  for  having  caused  us  so  much  trouble  and  loss  of 

On  May  8th  we  visited  Royal  Bay  and  Moltke 
Harbour,  where  the  German  Transit  of  Venus  Expedi- 
tion had  had  a  station  in  1882.  One  of  the  huts  then 
set  up  is  still  standing. 

The  glacier  running  into  this  harbour  is  of  great 
geological  interest  because  in  the  last  forty  years  it  has 
advanced  about  a  mile  and  receded  to  its  original  posi- 
tion. I  sent  the  boat  ashore  with  Jeffrey,  Macklin  and 
Ross  to  find  suitable  landings  for  the  scientific  parties. 
There  was  a  heavy  surf  running  which  made  the  opera- 
tion difficult,  but  they  succeeded  in  putting  Douglas  with 
Carr  and  Argles  on  to  a  steep  rocky  beach  which  ran 
along  the  side  of  the  harbour.  Marr,  still  very  inexperi- 
enced in  boat  work,  fell  overboard  during  the  process 
and  was  rolled  over  and  over  in  the  surf,  to  be  eventually 
cast  upon  the  beach ;  but  he  escaped  with  nothing  worse 
than  a  ducking — which  is  not  a  joke  in  these  tempera- 
tures. Wilkins,  who  with  Marr  had  wished  to  land  on 
the  beach  at  the  side  of  the  glacier,  was  unable  to 
do  so. 

I  sent  Macklin,  Mcllroy,  Marr  and  Green  to  catch 
as  many  fish  as  possible  for  taking  away  with  us.  Find- 
ing a  suitable  spot  at  the  edge  of  a  belt  of  kelp,  they 
secured  a  good  haul  and  brought  back  enough  to  last 
for  several  days,  for  in  these  temperatures  there  was  not 
much  fear  of  its  going  bad. 

Shortly  before  dark  I  recalled  all  hands,  who  were 
picked  up  and  brought  off  safely. 

Before  leaving,  Worsley  took  a  line  of  soundings 

198  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

along  the  front  of  the  glacier.  This  was  our  last  work 
in  South  Georgia. 

This  remote  island  has  drawn  to  it  scientists  from  all 
nations,  yet  there  remains  much  to  interest  the  investi- 
gators of  to-day.  During  our  stay  we  made  a  great 
number  of  observations  and  collected  a  mass  of  data 
which  when  sorted  and  worked  out  fully  will,  I  hope, 
be  of  great  interest  to  the  scientific  world. 

We  now  put  to  sea  and  set  course  for  Tristan  da 
Cunha.  As  we  left  the  bay  the  moon  came  out — a  big 
golden  moon  which  cast  a  broad  pathway  on  the  sea  and 
bathed  the  huge  glaciers  and  the  snow-covered  moun- 
tains and  valleys  in  a  soft  golden  glow.  Our  last  sight 
of  South  Georgia  was  a  very  beautiful  one,  and  my  last 
thoughts  as  I  gazed  back  over  our  rippling  wake,  gleam- 
ing in  the  moonlight  with  brighter  phosphorescence,  were 
of  my  comrade  who  stayed  there,  and  I  hoped  for  his 
sake  that  our  completed  enterprise  would  be  the  success 
that  he  himself  would  have  made  it. 



FROM  South  Georgia  we  proceeded  first  in  a 
northerly  direction  in  order  to  get  into  the  belt  of 
prevailing  westerlies  which  would  give  us  a  fair  quarterly 
wind  for  Tristan  da  Cunha. 

Whilst  still  in  the  vicinity  of  the  island  a  number 
of  soundings  were  carried  out  by  Worsley  and  his 

From  the  first  we  had  bad  weather,  and  the  winds 
increased  in  force  during  the  next  few  days  until,  on 
Friday,  May  12th,  so  fierce  a  gale  was  blowing  that  I 
was  compelled  to  take  in  sail  and  heave  to.  We  had  a 
most  uncomfortable  time,  though  we  could  expect 
nothing  less  since  we  were  now  in  the  "  Roaring 

Macklin's  diary  of  May  13th  is  fairly  descriptive  of 
conditions  about  this  time  : 

Had  the  middle  watch.  Heavy  seas  were  run- 
ning and  the  wind  was  strong  with  violent  squalls 
of  rain  and  snow.  It  was  a  dirty  night.  The  Quest 
rolled  worse  than  anything  I  have  ever  known,  with 
staggering  jerks  that  made  it  impossible  to  let  go  a 

At  times  the  ship  sagged  down  so  heavily  to 
leeward  that  my  heart  was  in  my  mouth,  for  it  seemed 
as  if  she  could  never  recover  herself.     Peering  to 


200  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

windward  as  the  great  seas  bore  down  upon  us  I  was 
reminded  of  Kipling's 

Be  well  assured  that  on  our  side 

The  abiding-  oceans  fig"ht, 
Though  headlong  wind  and  heaping  tide 
Make  us  their  sport  to-night. 

which  is  comforting  to  know.     He  always  seems  to 
catch  just  the  right  expression,  as  : 
Out  of  the  mist  into  the  mirk 

The  glimmering  combers  roll. 
Almost  these  mindless  waters  work 
As  though  they  had  a  soul — 
However,  as  the  Boss  used  to  say  :  "  When  things  are 
bad  any  change  is  likely  to  be  for  the  better."  We 
pour  some  vile  epithets  upon  the  head  of  poor  old 
Quest,  but  she  really  does  not  deserve  them,  for  she 
is  always  at  her  best  when  things  are  bad.  Com- 
mander Wild  says  she  is  like  a  woman,  quoting  some- 
thing about  *'  Women  in  our  hours  of  ease,  perfidious, 
fickle,  hard  to  please  !  "  I  suppose  he  knows  all 
about  it.  Anyway,  she  has  brought  us  through  what 
might  well  have  caused  many  a  more  stately  ship  to 
founder.  Things  have  remained  much  the  same 
during  the  day — water  keeps  coming  over  the  gun- 
wales in  huge  masses  and  hundreds  of  tons  pass 
hourly  across  "  The  Rubicon,"  as  we  call  the  wash 
of  water  in  the  waist  of  her.  Occasionally  big  green 
seas  come  aboard  en  masse,  flooding  the  whole  ship, 
and  find  their  way  everywhere,  through  cracks  in  the 
doors,  spirting  through  the  keyholes  and  through  the 
ventilators,  which,  with  all  the  ports  tightly  closed, 
must  be  kept  open. 
Macklin  places  in  my  mouth  an  incorrect  rendering 
which  I  would  never  apply  to  the  gentler  sex,  but  which 
is  certainly  very  appropriate  to  the  Quest. 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        201 

"  Bridget,"  the  pig  which  was  presented  to  us  by  Mr. 
Jacobsen  on  leaving  South  Georgia,  had  a  very  miser- 
able time,  and  I  was  almost  giving  instructions  to  have 
it  killed  right  away.  It  was  totally  unable  to  keep  its 
footing  on  the  slippery  deck  and  it  was  very  sea-sick. 
I  handed  it  over  to  the  care  of  McLeod,  who  found  it  a 
snug  berth  in  the  bathroom,  where  it  quickly  recovered 
its  spirits  and  began  to  develop  an  insatiable  appetite. 

In  passing  I  may  mention  that  the  bathroom,  so- 
called,  was  a  small  recess  containing  a  tub  situated  at 
the  side  of  the  engine-room  and  opening  into  the  star- 
board alleyway.  It  was  always  warm  from  the  heat  of 
the  engines  and  we  used  it  chiefly  as  a  drying-room  for 
clothes.  It  was  used  occasionally  also  on  very  cold 
nights  as  a  warming-room  for  chilled  night-watchmen. 
We  possessed  nothing  so  luxurious  as  a  real  bathroom, 
and,  sinking  modesty,  we  bathed  ourselves  from  a  bucket 
on  deck.  In  the  very  cold  weather  those  who  were  able 
to  ingratiate  themselves  with  Kerr,  the  chief  engineer, 
could  sometimes  take  their  tub  in  front  of  the  furnace 
fires.     This  was  a  real  luxury. 

I  was  glad  to  notice  on  May  14th  a  falling  off  of 
both  wind  and  sea,  and  Mcllroy  predicted  a  spell  of 
finer  weather.  On  the  15th  it  was  distinctly  calmer  and 
we  were  able  to  continue  the  work  on  deck,  which  in  a 
ship  at  sea  is  interminable,  but  which  the  heavier  weather 
had  compelled  us  to  suspend  temporarily.  "  Bridget  " 
emerged  from  her  retreat  and  started  to  move  about  the 
deck,  where  she  quickly  made  friends  with  Query.  It 
was  highly  amusing  to  watch  the  antics  of  the  two  of 
them.  She  also  started  to  make  friendships  amongst 
the  hands — notably  with  Green,  whom  she  quickly 
learned  to  regard  as  the  source  of  her  food  supply.     At 

202  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

times  she  became  too  friendly,  for  she  began  to  take  an 
interest  in  the  cabins  and  wardroom.  Another  bad 
habit  was  that  of  moving  about  the  decks  at  night,  where 
she  had  repeated  collisions  with  the  men  working  the 

In  spite  of  the  improvement  there  was  still  a  big 
enough  sea  to  cause  the  Quest  to  roll  heavily,  and  on 
the  1 8th  we  nearly  had  a  nasty  accident. 

I  had  set  a  party,  composed  of  Macklin,  Mcllroy, 
Jeffrey,  Carr  and  Marr,  to  hoisting  up  from  the  lower 
hold  a  number  of  sacks  of  beans  which  had  got  wet  and 
become  offensive.  The  work,  which  was  hard  and  diffi- 
cult on  account  of  the  awkward  motion,  was  being 
carried  out,  and  to  clear  a  space  Macklin  had  sent  up 
a  large  heavy  ice-basket  full  of  sundry  stores,  the  whole 
weighing  many  hundredweights.  Carr  was  on  deck,  and 
had  received  the  basket  when  the  ship  gave  an  unusually 
heavy  lurch.  Both  he  and  the  basket  were  shot  to  the 
opening,  and  though  he  was  able  to  save  himself  the 
basket  fell  with  a  crash  into  the  hold  where  the  men 
were  working.  Carr  yelled  a  warning  and  they  man- 
aged to  leap  clear,  receiving  the  impact  of  some  of  the 
cases  but  escaping  a  direct  blow.  This  is  but  one 
example  of  many  "  incidents  "  of  the  kind  that  occurred 
throughout  the  trip. 

Worsley,  Jeffrey,  Carr,  Macklin,  Kerr  and  Green  all 
at  separate  times  fell  through  the  hatch,  and  that  none 
of  them  received  serious  injury  is  remarkable.  I  was 
fully  prepared  on  any  day  to  witness  some  accident, 
and  that  so  few  occurred  can  only  be  due  to  the  special 
Providence  that  guards  children,  drunken  men  and 
sailors.  "  There's  a  sweet  little  cherub  that  sits  up 
aloft,  looks  after  the  soul  of  poor  Jack  "  (sea  song). 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        203 

Leaving  the  "  Roaring  Forties/'  the  air  became 
milder  and  the  temperature  rose,  so  that  we  were  able 
once  more  to  go  about  without  heavy  clothing  and  could 
cast  aside  mufflers,  mitts  and  woollen  caps. 

We  sighted  Inaccessible  Island  just  after  midnight 
on  May  19th.  It  appeared  as  a  high  mass  with  dimly 
marked  outline  obscured  at  the  top  by  dark  banks  of 
cloud.  As  we  came  abreast  of  it  the  moon  came  out, 
creating  a  very  weird  effect.  The  island  itself  stood 
out  in  deep,  almost  Stygian,  blackness,  and  from  its 
summit  smoke  seemed  to  be  belching  in  great  rolling 
masses.  High  above  all  was  the  moon,  showing  fitfully 
from  between  scudding  clouds,  and  in  front,  accentuat- 
ing the  effect,  was  a  rippling  silvery  pathway.  It 
reminded  me  of  a  scene  from  Dante's  Inferno. 

I  now  set  course  direct  for  Tristan  da  Cunha,  where 
we  arrived  about  daybreak. 

The  summit  of  the  island  was  entirely  obscured  by 
heavy  clouds  and  rain  fell  thickly,  so  that  everything 
had  a  dreary  aspect.  As  the  light  increased  we  were 
able  to  pick  out  the  little  cascade  which  gives  a  good 
mark  for  the  anchorage  and  dropped  our  anchor  in  7^ 
fathoms.  Looking  ashore  I  saw  a  number  of  small, 
thatched  houses  situated  on  a  piece  of  flat  ground 
bounded  on  the  side  of  the  sea  by  short  steep  cliffs. 
This  was  the  settlement  where  the  whole  population  of 
the  island  lived.  As  we  saw  it  now,  on  this  soaking  early 
morning,  it  might  have  been  a  dead  village,  for  there 
was  no  sign  of  life,  either  beast  or  human,  not  a  wreath 
of  smoke  ascended  from  the  chimneys,  and  nothing  at 
all  stirred.  To  attract  attention  I  blew  a  blast  on  the 
steam  whistle,  when  there  was  an  immediate  change. 
The  people  came  running  from  their  cottages  and  the 

204  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

settlement  sprang  to  life.  The  men  launched  their 
boats  and  came  off  to  us.  The  sailor's  eye  was  at  once 
attracted  by  the  boats,  which  are  made  of  canvas  over 
a  wooden  framework.  The  men  themselves  were  an 
uncouth  lot.  They  were  very  excited  and  talked  a 
great  deal  in  thin  jabbering  voices.  They  hastened  to 
board  us  and  started  at  once  to  ask  for  things.  They 
proved  to  be  a  great  nuisance,  so  I  sent  them  all  ashore, 
retaining  only  one  man,  Robert  Glass,  who  seemed  to 
be  the  most  intelligent  of  them.  I  learnt  from  him  that 
the  islanders  were  very  destitute.  He  asked  in  the 
name  of  the  community  for  our  help  and,  realizing  that 
they  were  indeed  in  a  bad  way,  I  determined  in  the 
name  of  Mr.  Rowett,  who  I  felt  sure  would  sympathize 
with  my  action,  to  give  them  all  the  relief  I  could. 

I  gave  instructions  to  Worsley  to  see  what  could  be 
done  for  them  in  the  way  of  deck  gear,  nails,  canvas, 
rope,  paint,  etc.,  things  of  which  they  were  in  great 
need,  and  told  Macklin  to  find  out  what  could  be  spared 
in  the  way  of  food  and  general  equipment. 

We  had  brought  fifteen  bags  of  letter  and  parcel 
mail  from  England  for  these  islanders;  we  had  on  board 
also  a  large  number  of  packages  and  cases  which 
Macklin,  who  had  been  compelled  to  find  room  for 
them  in  the  sorely  restricted  space  at  his  disposal,  was 
pleased  at  the  prospect  of  being  able  to  hand  over. 
They  included  a  large  gramophone,  a  gift  from  the 
^olian  Company,  and  some  Bovril  sent  by  the  firm  as 
a  present  to  the  islanders. 

As  I  was  anxious  to  learn  all  I  could  about  these 
people,  their  ways  and  customs  and  mode  of  life 
generally,  I  detailed  Macklin  to  go  ashore  for  this  pur* 
pose.     I  also  g^ave  him  instructions  to  take  a  complete 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        205 

census,  which  might  be  of  use  to  the  Cape  Government. 
He  remained  there  while  the  ship  visited  Nightingale 
and  Inaccessible  Islands,  and  as  I  have  asked  him  to 
write  his  own  account,  to  avoid  repetition  I  will  refrain 
from  any  further  description  of  Tristan  da  Cunha 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  group  of  islands  includes 
the  three  just  mentioned  and  two  smaller  islets  known 
as  Middle  and  Stoltenhoff  respectively.  They  lie 
roughly  in  latitude  37  south  and  12  west  longitude,  and 
they  are  approximately  4,000  miles  from  the  Cape  of 
Good  Hope.  Tristan  is  probably  the  most  isolated 
inhabited  island  in  the  world. 

The  group  was  discovered  by  the  Portuguese 
admiral  whose  name  they  bear,  in  1506.  The  Dutch, 
at  the  time  of  their  settlement  in  the  Cape  Colony, 
examined  it  with  a  view  to  making  it  a  naval  station. 
The  East  India  Company  also  sent  a  ship  to  see  if  it 
would  be  worth  while  forming  a  settlement  there.  No 
one  lived  there,  however,  till  early  in  the  eighteenth 
century,  when  a  man  named  Thomas  Currie  landed  and 
decided  to  remain.  He  was  joined  by  two  American 
whalers,  named  Lambert  and  Williams  respectively. 
There  is  a  vague  report,  too,  of  a  Spanish  boy  having 
somehow  or  other  joined  the  party.  Lambert  and 
Williams  were  drowned  whilst  making  a  visit  to  In- 
accessible Island.  What  happened  to  the  other  is  not 
clear.  The  history  of  the  present  settlement  is  dealt 
with  in  the  following  chapter. 

A  British  naval  officer,  named  Nightingale,  visited 
the  group  in  1760,  and  the  crew  of  a  sealing  vessel, 
under  command  of  John  Patten,  spent  six  months  about 
the  islands,  collecting  the  skins  of  fur  seals.     The  first 

2o6  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

accurate  survey  was  made  by  the  hydrographic  staff  of 
the  Challenger,  which  in  the  course  of  her  historic 
voyage  round  the  world  spent  a  short  time  here  in 

All  hands  having  been  recalled  from  the  shore, 
we  left  Tristan  da  Cunha  at  7.30  p.m.  on  May 
20th  and  proceeded  in  the  direction  of  Inaccessible 
Island,  which  loomed  up  in  the  dark  ahead  of  us 
about  midnight.  We  reduced  speed,  waiting  till 
daylight  should  give  us  a  chance  to  see  what  we  were 

I  took  with  me  on  the  Quest  three  of  the  inhabitants 
of  Tristan  da  Cunha  to  act  as  pilots  and  guides  about 
the  islands.  They  were  Bob  Glass,  his  brother  John 
Glass,  and  Henry  Green. 

In  the  early  hours  of  the  morning  the  wind  increased 
and  blew  from  the  north-east  with  very  heavy  rain 
squalls.  A  landing  on  Inaccessible  Island  seemed 
quite  impossible,  so  I  ran  for  shelter  under  the  south- 
west end  of  Nightingale  Island,  which  we  reached  at 
about  7  A.M.  I  put  out  the  surf  boat  and  sent  ashore 
a  party,  composed  of  Wilkins  and  Marr,  for  natural 
history  work,  and  Douglas  and  Carr  for  geological  pur- 
poses. Jeffrey  was  in  charge  of  the  boat,  and  I  sent 
with  him  Henry  Green  and  John  Glass.  They  effected 
a  landing  on  the  south-east  corner  of  the  island,  at  a 
point  where  the  rock  rose  sheer  from  the  water,  but 
where  there  was  a  rough  ledge,  on  which  they  managed 
to  get  a  footing  and  place  their  equipment,  which  con- 
sisted of  theodolites,  guns,  pickaxes,  bags,  etc. 

Here  the  parties  separated,  John  Glass  accompany- 
ing Wilkins,  whilst  Henry  Green  acted  as  guide  to  the 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        207 

Marr  writes  in  his  diary : 

We  climbed  a  short  way  along  the  jagged  rocks 
with  our  baggage  and  came  to  a  flat  table-like  area 
backed  by  high  cliffs  with  gigantic  boulders  at  their 
base.  The  other  party  went  right  on  up  a  narrow 
gully  with  the  intention  of  inspecting  a  guano  patch 
at  the  far  side  of  the  island.  We  remained  here  for 
a  short  space  whilst  Wilkins  shot  a  number  of  birds 
and  then  followed  up  the  hill.  From  the  ship  we 
had  thought  that  this  would  be  easy  going  up  a  grassy 
slope.  We  were  sadly  disillusioned,  however,  for  the 
grass  was  rank  tussock  and  grew  high  above  our 
heads,  from  six  to  ten  feet  in  length,  and  was  ex- 
tremely difficult  to  break  through.  Underfoot  the 
ground  was  rotten  and  soaking,  and  at  every  step 
it  gave  way  and  we  sank  knee-deep  and  further.  Mr. 
Wilkins  kept  shooting  birds  on  the  way  up,  but  we 
had  great  difficulty  in  finding  them  in  the  grass.  We 
were  drenched  to  the  skin  by  the  time  we  arrived  at 
the  top,  where  there  was  open  land  covered  with  small 
trees  and  loose  rocks  and  a  peculiar  round-bladed 
grass  which  grew  in  close  tufts  very  difficult  to  walk 
upon.  Here  more  birds  were  shot,  and  we  started  on 
the  return  journey,  sliding  down  the  soaking  rotten 
earth,  stumbling  blindly  through  the  long  grass  and 
slipping  into  the  holes. 

On  reaching  the  bottom  the  party  returned  in  the 
boat  to  the  ship  without  waiting  for  the  geologists. 
The  latter  had  crossed  the  col  to  the  northern  slopes, 
finding,  like  the  others,  that  the  going  was  very  hard  on 
account  of  the  tussock  grass.  "  These  (grass  reeds) 
grow  to  about  eight  feet  high,"  says  one  of  the  party, 

2o8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

*'  and  are  about  half  an  inch  in  diameter,  and  are  so 
dense  that  a  man  five  feet  away  is  invisible."  Examina- 
tions were  made  and  survey  work  was  carried  out,  and 
when  it  was  finished  the  party  set  off  back  to  the  landing- 
place.     Douglas  writes  : 

.  .  .  Upon  reaching  a  small  eminence  we  saw  the 
Quest  steaming  around  the  north-east  point.  This 
was  one  of  the  few  occasions  when  she  added  to  the 
picture  and  not,  through  the  ugliness  of  her  lines, 
detracted  from  it.  In  the  brilliant  sunshine  as  she 
came  into  the  mouth  of  the  passage  between  Nightin- 
gale and  Middle  Islands,  gently  dipping  in  the  north- 
east swell  but  still  rolling,  she  made  a  very  pretty 

I  suppose  Douglas  is  right  when  he  remarks  that  the 
Quest  is  not  a  beautiful  ship,  for  her  lines  certainly 
cannot  be  described  as  yacht-like.  Yet  as  my  affection 
for  her  grew  she  appeared  more  and  more  beautiful  in 
my  eyes,  till,  thinking  of  her  in  retrospect,  I  have  almost 
a  feeling  of  resentment  at  any  such  criticism.  After 
all,  beauty  is  largely  a  matter  of  what  we  are  educated 
to  regard  as  such,  and  our  ideas  change,  as  witness  what 
are  to  us  to-day  the  extraordinary  "  fashions  "  of  only 
fifty  years  ago  !  The  Quest  is  neither  stately  nor  grace- 
ful, but  she  certainly  has  a  beauty  of  her  own.  What- 
"  she  "has  not? 

The  geological  party  also  was  safely  taken  off,  and 
we  lay  off  for  the  night  about  a  mile  from  the  land.  In 
the  morning  I  brought  the  ship  closer  in  and,  feeling 
my  way  carefully  with  the  hand-lead,  proceeded  to  the 
north  of  Nightingale  Island.  I  was  anxious  to  put 
Douglas  ashore  on  Middle  Island,  and  sent  off  the  boat 



Photo:  Dr.   Macklin 


Photos:  Dr.  Macklin 


The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        209 

with  Jeffrey,  Dell  and  the  three  islanders.  Douglas 
and  Henry  Green  effected  a  landing,  and  in  the  mean- 
time I  dropped  anchor  in  the  passage  where  we  were 
in  shelter,  the  wind  having  come  round  to  the  west. 
Whilst  waiting  here  we  fished  for  sharks,  which  abound 
in  considerable  quantity  and  of  which  we  caught 
several.  They  were  of  little  use,  but  I  have  the 
sailor's  hatred  of  these  rapacious  brutes  and  had  no 
compunction  in  destroying  as  many  of  them  as  my 
men  could  catch. 

During  the  afternoon  a  strong  wind  blew  up,  and 
Jeffrey  and  Dell  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  getting  in 
to  the  island  to  pick  up  the  party.  During  the  more 
violent  squalls  they  shipped  oars  and  clung  to  the  kelp 
which  grows  about  here  in  long,  strong  strands.  Dell 
describes  this  as  the  worst  row  he  had  ever  experienced. 
They  succeeded  eventually  and  returned  with  the  party 
to  the  ship. 

Weather  conditions  at  this  time  of  year  are  not  very 
suitable  for  carrying  out  an  extensive  survey  and  ex- 
amination, and  I  was  unable  to  allow  Douglas  any  great 
opportunity  for  accurate  work.  He  made  good  use  of 
his  few  chances,  however,  and  his  observations  are  likely 
to  prove  of  value. 

A  landing  (was  effected)  at  the  south-east  corner 
(of  Nightingale)  where  a  platform  of  lava  extends 
from  the  foot  of  the  low  col  which  forms  the  easiest 
passage  to  the  north  of  the  island.  The  island  is 
rectangular  in  plan,  about  one  mile  by  three-quarters. 
The  south  shore  is  bounded  by  fairly  high  cliffs,  ex- 
cept for  one  or  two  small  platforms.  The  east  shore 
is  also  high,  and  the  highest  point  of  the  island  rises 

210  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

here  in  very  steep  slopes.  The  col  above  mentioned 
is  the  low  feature  joining  the  high  peak  with  the 
other  high  points  to  the  west  and  interior  of  the  island. 
It  is  probable  that  the  island  was  once  a  volcano,  as 
the  central  depression  and  various  agglomeritic  occur- 
rences would  testify.  From  the  centre  the  island 
slopes  down  gradually  towards  the  north,  ending  in 
low  cliffs  of  about  thirty  feet  high. 

Nightingale  Island  has  a  single  sharp  peak  about 
2,000  feet  high.  Middle  Island  lies  to  the  north,  and  is 
separated  from  it  by  a  passage  half  a  mile  in  width. 
Douglas  says  : 

.  .  .  The  island  owes  its  existence  to  two  causes — 
first  the  lavas  from  Nightingale  .  .  .  must  have  ex- 
tended well  to  the  north,  and  secondly,  there  has  been 
local  out-welling  of  lava.  The  latter  lava  is  extremely 
hard  and  has  formed  the  col  which  has  resisted  the 
action  of  the  sea.  The  first  lava  is  so  soft  that  it  is 
easily  worn  away,  which  accounts  for  its  separation 
from  Nightingale.  The  island  is  comparatively  small, 
being  less  than  half  a  mile  on  its  longest  axis.  Being 
close  to  Nightingale  its  flora  is  similar.  The  island 
does  not  rise  higher  than  two  hundred  feet,  and  is  girt 
with  vertical  cliffs  on  the  west,  north  and  east  sides. 
The  landing  is  at  the  south-east  point,  and  there  is  a 
large  cave  at  the  most  southerly  point. 

The  island  of  Stoltenhoff,  a  little  more  than  half 
a  mile  distant,  is  a  huge  flat-topped  rock  rising  from 
the  water  for  two  hundred  feet.  No  landing  possible. 
The  island  is  probably  an  extension  of  "  Middle  "  to 
the  north,  but  may  represent  another  separate  centre 
of  activity. 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        211 

We  remained  at  anchor  for  the  night  in  the  passage 
between  Nightingale  and  Middle  Islands,  and  sailed  at 
4  A.M.  for  Inaccessible  Island. 

This  island  has  been  the  scene  of  several  shipwrecks, 
including  that  of  the  Blendon  Hall  in  182 1.  It  does 
not  belie  its  name,  for  as  we  approached  it  certainly 
looked  inaccessible  enough.  No  low  land  is  apparent, 
and  the  whole  rises  sheer  from  the  sea  on  every  side. 
The  weather  was  so  uncertain  that  when  sending  the 
party  of  scientists  ashore  I  gave  instructions  that  stores 
sufficient  for  several  days  should  be  taken  in  the  boat 
in  case  it  should  be  impossible  to  pick  the  men  up  when 
we  wanted  to.  The  party  took  also  biological  and  geo- 
logical gear,  surveying  instruments,  two  good  Alpine 
axes  and  a  coil  of  good  Alpine  rope. 

A  landing  was  effected  near  the  north-east  corner, 
largely  through  the  help  of  the  Tristan  islanders,  whose 
intimate  local  knowledge  proved  of  the  greatest  value 
during  the  whole  time  we  spent  about  these  islands. 
The  beach  was  steep  and  stony,  and  big  curling  seas 
were  breaking  on  it.  Intervals  of  comparative  calm 
occur,  and  by  taking  advantage  of  them  a  boat  can  be 
fairly  easily  beached.  The  landing  effected  and  the 
gear  removed,  the  boat  was  hauled  up  whilst  the  party 
went  about  their  work.  The  beach  is  about  a  mile  long 
and  forms  a  very  narrow  strip,  behind  which  the  cliffs 
rise  vertically  for  an  average  height  of  from  three  to 
four  hundred  feet.  Half  a  mile  to  the  south-east  of  the 
landing-place  a  narrow  waterfall  drops  in  a  cascade  over 
the  edge  of  the  cliff  about  three  hundred  and  fifty  feet 
up  and  has  hollowed  out  a  deep  pool  below.  The  ascent 
to  the  summit  lies  beyond  this,  and  here  Douglas,  with 
John  Glass  and  Henry  Green,  started  the  climb.    These 

212  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

two  islanders  are  strong,  active,  nimble  men  and  won- 
derful climbers.  Douglas  gave  them  the  greatest  praise, 
and  said  that  but  for  their  assistance  he  could  never 
have  attained  the  summit.  On  one  occasion  during  the 
descent  they  had  to  lower  him  over  a  particularly  steep 
part  with  the  rope.     Douglas  writes  : 

Inaccessible  Island  is  pear-shaped,  the  longer  axis 
being  about  three  miles  and  the  shorter  two  and  a  half 
miles.  The  land  rises  around  the  island  in  almost 
vertical  cliffs  about  five  hundred  feet  high.  On  the 
south  and  south-east  there  is  a  gradual  slope  up  to 
the  highest  point,  which  is  about  1,500  feet  above 
sea  level.  On  the  north  and  north-west  sides  the  rim 
continues  to  rise  to  about  1,300  feet,  and  then  it  slopes 
down  towards  the  interior  and  the  foot  of  the  slope 
of  the  central  cone.  In  fact,  it  is  a  great  caldera, 
with  the  southern  side  blown  out  and  having  a  central 
small  cone. 

The  interior  is  really  a  beautiful  landscape  of 
broken  country,  clad  in  verdure  with  a  stream  running 
through  it. 

Wilkins,  assisted  by  Carr  and  Marr,  carried  out 
natural  history  investigations  on  the  lower  slope  and 
shot  a  number  of  birds  for  preparation  as  museum 

During  the  years  1871-73  two  brothers,  Germans 
named  Stoltenhoff,  lived  here.  They  gave  their  name 
to  Stoltenhoff  Island.  Nightingale  Island  derives  its 
name  from  the  British  navigator  who  visited  it  in 

All  the  islands  of  the  Tristan  da  Cunha  group  have 
a  similar  flora  and  fauna.     They  are  covered  in  parts 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        213 

with  tussock  grass  (sfartina  arundinacea)  and  bracken. 
One  small  tree,  the  **  Island  tree "  {phylica  nitida), 
grows  at  levels  up  to  about  2,000  feet.  The  smaller 
plants  include  twenty-nine  species  of  flowering  plants 
and  twenty-six  ferns  and  lycopods.  Numerous  seabirds 
nest  on  the  islands,  including  mollymauks,  terns,  sea- 
hens  or  skua  gulls,  prions,  black  eaglets,  "  Pediunkers,'' 
and  several  kinds  of  petrel.  On  the  rocky  beaches  we 
saw  a  number  of  small  land  birds,  one  species  of  which 
resembled  a  thrush  and  the  other  a  finch.  They  were 
very  tame  and  could  be  easily  caught.  The  islanders 
showed  us  several  rookeries  where  rockhopper  penguins 
congregate  in  large  numbers  during  the  nesting  season. 
The  rockhopper  is  a  pretty  bird  with  a  crest  of  yellow 
and  black  feathers.  Its  call  is  rather  deep  and  harsh — 
"  Aloh-ha !  "  as  nearly  as  I  can  write  it. 

But  for  the  difficulty  of  landing  Inaccessible  Island 
would  be  almost  as  suitable  a  spot  for  a  small  settlement 
as  Tristan  da  Cunha.  A  few  cattle  are  kept  there.  The 
islanders  from  Tristan  make  frequent  visits  in  their 
boats.  Experience  has  taught  them  what  are  the  most 
suitable  weather  conditions  for  effecting  a  landing.  It 
appears  that  the  winds  follow  a  fairly  definite  cycle, 
and  the  islanders  can  predict  with  some  degree  of 
certainty  the  conditions  likely  to  be  met  with  in  the 
next  few  days. 

One  has  to  give  the  islanders  credit  for  their  boat- 
manship,  for  their  craft  are  frail  and  require  the  most 
careful  handling  to  prevent  their  being  stove  in. 

Of  the  men  taken  with  us  on  the  Quest,  Henry  Green 
and  John  Glass  had  never  been  away  from  the  islands. 
They  were  really  two  extremely  nice  men.  Douglas 
writes  of  Henry  Green  who  accompanied  him : 

214  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Henry  proved  to  be  a  delightfully  refreshing 
character.  His  simple  outlook  on  life,  facts  being 
facts  to  him  and  needing  no  reason,  the  pride  he  took 
in  his  ability  to  climb  and  find  his  way  over  the 
islands,  notwithstanding  his  years,  and  his  love  of 
his  own  hearth,  marked  him  out  as  one  of  the  best,  if 
not  the  best,  of  those  who  live  on  Tristan. 

What  a  strange  life  they  lead,  passing  day  after  day 
of  their  long  lives  in  this  restricted  environment  with 
the  same  outlook,  amongst  the  same  people  and  with 
only  occasionally  the  sight  of  a  new  face,  which  passing, 
never  returns,  for  no  one  ever  goes  back  to  Tristan.  As 
Macklin  shows,  their  longevity  is  remarkable;  few  seem 
to  die  under  ninety  years  of  age. 

I  returned  to  the  settlement  via  the  southern  side  of 
Tristan  to  enable  Worsley  to  carry  out  a  series  of  sound- 
ings, and  arrived  there  at  daybreak  on  May  24th.  We 
proceeded  in  through  the  kelp  and  came  to  anchor. 

I  allowed  most  of  the  hands  ashore  for  the  day,  and 
detailed  a  party  to  install  a  portable  wireless  receiving 
apparatus  which  Mr.  Rogers,  the  missionary,  had  brought 
from  Cape  Town.  One  of  the  masts  for  the  aerials 
broke  whilst  being  erected,  and  the  pieces  fell  amongst 
a  crowd  of  islanders  who  had  gathered  to  watch  pro- 
ceedings, causing  them  to  scamper  wildly  in  all  direc- 
tions. Mr.  Rogers  told  me  that  he  had  not  learned  the 
code,  and  as  there  are  several  mechanical  details  to  be 
mastered  it  is  doubtful  if  the  apparatus  is  likely  to  be 
of  great  value. 

I  was  up  before  daybreak  on  May  25th,  to  find  that 
the  wind  had  come  round  to  the  west  and  a  strong  swell 
had  started  to  run  into  the  anchorage.     I  saw  that  the 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        215 

sooner  we  were  off  the  better,  and  blew  the  steam  whistle 
for  the  recall  of  those  who  had  spent  the  night  ashore. 

When  I  had  told  Glass  on  our  arrival  that  I  would  be 
able  to  leave  a  considerable  amount  of  general  supplies 
for  the  islanders,  he  had  said  that  he  did  not  think  they 
had  stock  enough  on  the  island  to  pay  for  it.  When  I 
replied  that  I  did  not  require  any  payment,  he  was  most 
agreeably  surprised,  and  promised  to  send  us  two  or 
three  good  sheep  and  some  fresh  potatoes.  I  had  also 
asked  for  a  number  of  geese  and  poultry  with  the  idea  of 
placing  them  on  Gough  Island  in  the  hope  that  they 
would  settle  there  and  breed. 

The  blowing  of  the  steam  whistle  caused  the  most 
marked  excitement  amongst  the  islanders,  who  came 
rushing  to  their  boats,  which  they  launched,  and,  having 
rowed  out  to  us,  crowded  aboard  in  dozens.  Immedi- 
ately there  was  a  noise  like  babel  let  loose.  Many  of 
them  approached  Bob  Glass,  saying  :  "  Can't  you  get 
nothing  more  out  of  them.  Bob  ?  "  As  I  had  emptied 
the  holds  and  stripped  the  ship  of  everything  I  could 
spare,  and  in  the  name  of  Mr.  Rowett  given  all  the 
relief  I  could  to  these  people,  I  was  not  very  well 
pleased  at  their  attitude.  On  my  asking  for  the  sheep 
and  potatoes  and  the  live  stock  for  Gough  Island  they 
suddenly  remembered  that  they  owed  us  something  in 
return,  and  dragged  up  from  the  bottom  of  the  boat  what 
looked  for  all  the  world  like  two  large  and  skinny 
rabbits.  They  proved  to  be  sheep,  the  most  miserable 
creatures  I  had  ever  set  eyes  on.  They  dumped  aboard 
also  two  bags  of  potatoes  which  in  size  resembled 
marbles  and  some  very  indifferent-looking  geese  and 
poultry.  They  seemed  to  lose  all  restraint  and  begged 
for  anything  which  caught  their  eye  or  their  fancy,  each 

2i6  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

man  trying  to  get  in  his  request  before  his  neighbour  or 
endeavouring  to  overshout  him.  There  were  no  longer 
any  requests  on  behalf  of  the  community,  each  man 
trying  to  scrounge  what  he  could  for  himself.  A  boat- 
load containing  some  of  the  steadier  men  brought  off 
six  bags  of  mail,  six  bales  of  feathers  and  about  nine 
bags  of  potatoes.  These  were  dumped  over  our  rail, 
and  when  I  sent  Macklin  to  find  out  what  it  was  they 
had  put  aboard,  they  replied  that  they  were  parcels  which 
they  wished  delivered  to  their  friends  in  Cape  Town 
who  would  send  them  something  in  return.  These 
casual  folk  had  made  no  arrangements  and  had  not  even 
addressed  them  sufficiently. 

Rain  had  started  to  fall  and  Macklin,  who  knowing 
nothing  of  their  coming  had  not  prepared  a  place  for 
them  in  the  hold,  turned  to  a  group  of  the  islanders  and 
asked  for  some  help  to  put  the  bales  in  the  shelter  of  the 
alleyway,  where  they  would  be  protected  from  the  rain. 
Not  a  man  stirred,  each  saying  it  had  nothing  to  do  with 
him.  Macklin  had  to  search  out  each  man  in  turn  to 
help  with  his  own  bag  for  none  of  them  would  touch 
anything  that  did  not  belong  to  him  personally.  We 
were  all  thoroughly  disgusted  with  their  behaviour,  and 
on  this  last  morning  they  undid  any  good  impression 
we  had  gained  of  them  whilst  ashore. 

One  group  of  men  brought  me  some  bundles  of 
whalebone  which  they  asked  me  to  buy  for  twenty 
pounds.  As  I  had  no  idea  of  the  value  of  the  stuff  I 
could  not  do  it,  but  offered  to  take  it  to  Cape  Town  and 
hand  it  over  for  disposal  and  have  the  value  sent  them 
in  general  goods.  This  arrangement  they  regarded  with 
suspicion  and  tried  hard  to  induce  me  to  barter  with 
them.     It  was   a  curious  thing  that  all  the   islanders 

The  Tristan  da  Cunha  Group        217 

seemed  to  think  that  we  had  a  mysterious  bottomless 
store  from  which  we  could  go  on  supplying  quantities 
of  pipes,  tobacco,  foodstuffs,  etc.  etc.,  in  exchange  for 
the  most  valueless  trash.  Knowing  that  as  a  community 
they  stood  in  great  need  of  copper  nails  for  their  boats 
I  offered  them  a  seven-pound  bag,  our  all,  which  we 
could  ill  spare.  No  one  man  would  burden  himself 
with  this  on  behalf  of  the  community  and  it  was  finally 
left  aboard. 

I  made  full  allowances  for  the  limitations  of  these 
people,  but  at  last  they  became  so  troublesome  that  I 
ordered  them  back  to  their  boats  and  got  ready  to  put 
to  sea.  Just  before  the  last  lot  left  some  of  the  older 
men  came  to  me  and  thanked  me  for  what  we  had  been 
able  to  do.  They  included  Henry  Green,  John  Glass, 
Tom  Rogers,  Old  Sam  Swaine  and  Lavarello,  the 
Italian.  I  told  them  that  they  must  not  thank  me  alto- 
gether, for  they  owed  what  I  had  given  them  to  a  man 
named  John  Rowett  far  across  the  sea  in  England. 
John  Glass  said  in  his  high  piping  voice  :  '*  You  will 
see  Mr.  Rowett  again.?  Then  tell  him  that  he  is  the 
koindest  man  that  I  ever  know."  I  promised  I  would. 
Bob  Glass  also  brought  me  a  letter  which  he  wanted 
me  to  send  to  Mr.  Rowett  for  him.  In  return  I  thanked 
them,  etc.  etc.  Just  before  leaving  I  received  a  long 
letter  from  the  missionary  Mr.  Rogers,  in  which  he 
expressed  the  appreciation  of  the  islanders  and  sent 
a  message  of  gratitude  to  Mr.  Rowett. 

Though  very  disgusted  at  the  time  with  the  behaviour 
of  these  people,  I  felt  on  more  mature  consideration 
that  one  could  not  fairly  judge  them  by  instances  like 
this.  They  are  ignorant,  shut  off  almost  completely 
from  the  world,  horribly  limited  in  outlook,  and  they 

2i8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

realized  that  at  this  moment  there  was  slipping  away 
from  them  the  only  possible  source  of  acquiring  the 
many  things  they  so  badly  needed.  Indeed,  looking 
back  on  the  whole  visit  to  Tristan  da  Cunha,  I  am  sur- 
prised that  they  were  not  much  more  wild  and  uncivilized 
than  we  found  them,  and  they  were,  I  believe,  at  any 
rate  the  older  men  among  them,  really  grateful  for  what 
we  had  been  able  to  do. 

I  think  their  characters  may  be  somewhat  roughly 
summed  up  by  describing  them  as  "  a  lot  of  grown-up 


TRISTAN      DA      CUNHA' 

WE  arrived  at  Tristan  da  Cunha  on  May  20th, 
1922,  just  as  dawn  was  breaking.  A  fine  rain 
was  falling  and  all  the  upper  part  of  the  island  was 
shrouded  in  mist.  The  islanders  seemed  to  be  still  in 
bed,  for  we  saw  no  signs  of  activity  until  Commander 
Wild  blew  the  steam  whistle,  which  brought  them  run- 
ning from  their  houses  in  haste,  evidently  yery  excited, 
for  we  saw  them  pointing  towards  us.  The  men  ran 
down  a  steep  winding  path  leading  to  a  beach  of  black 
sand  where  a  number  of  boats  were  drawn  up.  They 
launched  the  boats  and  came  out  towards  us  as  fast  as 
they  could  row. 

At  first  sight  the  people  presented  a  curious 
spectacle.  They  were  rather  a  wild-looking  lot,  and 
were  clothed  in  every  conceivable  kind  of  male  attire, 
which  seemed  to  be  the  cast-off  clothing  of  sailors  who 
had  called  at  the  island.  One  man  in  particular  was 
wearing  the  queerest  mixture  :  an  evening  dress  jacket, 
striped  cotton  shirt,  dungaree  trousers,  whilst  on  his 
head  was  an  officer's  peaked  cap ! 

The  majority  of  them  were  white,  but  many  showed 
signs  of  a  coloured  ancestry  in  a  dusky  complexion  and 
features  of  a  distinctly  negroid  type. 

Their  boats  attracted  our  attention,  for  they  are 
made  of  canvas  over  a  framework  of  wood.  These  are 
ingenious  pieces  of  work  and  built  on  very  shapely  lines. 

*  Dr.   Macklin's  account. 

220  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

The  canvas  is  begged  from  passing  ships.  The  cross- 
pieces  are  made  from  the  branches  of  small,  stunted 
apple  trees  which  are  grown  on  the  island,  but  for  the 
pieces  which  form  the  keel  and  the  main  part  of  the 
frame  they  are  dependent  on  chance  bits  of  driftwood 
thrown  up  on  the  beaches. 

On  this  day  there  was  a  considerable  swell  running, 
which  made  it  dangerous  for  more  than  one  boat  to  come 
alongside  at  a  time,  the  others  lying  off  at  a  safe  distance. 
It  was  apparent  that  the  islanders  did  not  care  to  submit 
their  frail  craft  to  any  more  bumping  than  was  necessary. 
In  their  excitement  they  made  a  tremendous  noise,  shout- 
ing to  each  other  in  voices  which  were  curiously  thin 
and  high-pitched. 

As  soon  as  the  first  boat  came  alongside  a  strong 
active  man  with  a  cheery  face  leapt  on  to  our  gunwale 
and  clambered  aboard.  He  told  us  his  name  was  John 
Glass,  and  he  seized  those  of  us  whom  he  could  reach 
in  turn  by  the  hand,  exclaiming  in  a  piping  voice  that 
contrasted  strangely  with  his  powerful  frame  :  "  I'm  glad 
to  see  you  all.  How  are  you.'*  Have  you  had  a  good 
trip  ? "  Another  man,  taller  and  more  slimly  built, 
quickly  followed  him  and  made  his  way  to  the  bridge. 
He  was  wearing  an  old  khaki  overcoat,  and  was  shod 
on  one  foot  with  a  worn-out  leather  boot  and  on  the  other 
with  a  sort  of  moccasin  made  of  cowskin.  Several  others 
came  aboard  and  started  at  once  to  ask  for  things,  say- 
ing :  "  Say,  Mister,  you  ain't  got  an  old  pair  of  boots, 
have  you  ?  "  or  "  Mister,  I'm  building  a  boat — can  you 
spare  a  few  nails?  "  "  Mister,  can  I  have  a  piece  of  salt 
beef  ?  " — always  the  prefix  of  "  Mister,"  said  in  a  most 
ingratiating  tone.  The  requests  were  made  to  anybody 
whom  they  encountered,  no  matter  how  busily  engaged. 

Tristan  da  Cunha  221 

When  told  to  "  Wait  a  little  and  we'll  see  what  can  be 
done,"  they  would  say,  for  example,  "  Well,  my  name's 
Swaine — young  Sam  Swaine,  son  of  old  Sam  Swaine. 
You  won't  forget,  will  you  ?  "  Often  two  or  three  of 
them  bombarded  one  man  at  the  same  time,  when  they 
raised  their  voices,  both  in  volume  and  pitch.  They 
made  themselves  such  a  general  nuisance  in  this  way 
and,  together  with  those  in  the  boats,  who  kept  calling 
continually  to  those  aboard,  raised  such  a  pandemonium 
that  Commander  Wild  approached  John  Glass  and 
asked  him  if  there  was  a  "  head-man  *'  of  the  island  or 
recognized  representative  of  the  community. 

John  Glass  promptly  replied,  "I  am !  "  but  con- 
tinued in  the  same  breath,  "  There  ain't  no  head-man 
now.  Bob  Glass,  my  brother — that's  him  on  the  bridge 
— he's  head-man.  Anyways,  he's  the  best  one  for  you 
to  talk  to.  He's  got  the  larnin' ! "  Having  "  got  the 
larnin'  "  meant  that  he  could  read  and  write. 

Bob  Glass  was  told  to  remain  on  the  ship.  The  rest 
were  packed  off  into  their  boats  and  sent  ashore  to  await 
the  blowing  of  the  steam  whistle  as  a  signal  for  their 
return.  Glass,  the  tall,  slim  man  who  had  made  for  the 
bridge,  proved  to  be  an  intelligent  fellow.  We  asked 
him  to  have  breakfast  with  us.  He  accepted  the  invita- 
tion without  embarrassment,  and  showed  himself  much 
more  at  ease  than  one  would  have  expected  from  any- 
one living  in  so  remote  a  part  of  the  world. 

From  him  Commander  Wild  learnt  that  there  had 
been  only  one  ship  to  the  island  in  the  last  eighteen 
months — a  Japanese  steamer,  which  had  brought  a 
missionary  and  his  wife,  but  which  had  immediately  pro- 
ceeded without  letting  them  have  supplies  of  any  kind. 
Glass  had  made  his  way  to  the  captain  in  the  hope  that 

222  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

an  explanation  of  their  needs  and  of  their  peculiar 
situation  might  induce  him  to  allow  them  some  stores, 
but  he  was  promptly  ordered  off  the  ship.  The  captain, 
relenting  a  little  at  the  last  moment,  gave  him  as  a 
personal  present  a  bundle  of  coloured  postcards,  all  of 
them  with  the  same  picture — a  very  highly  coloured 
impressionistic  view  of  Fuji-yama,  the  sacred  mountain 
of  Japan  !  They  had  received  quite  a  considerable  mail 
from  people  in  the  outside  world  who  took  an  interest 
in  this  isolated  community,  but,  as  Glass  remarked  con- 
temptuously, "  Chiefly  clothes  for  the  womenfolk." 
The  missionary  had  brought  some  supplies,  but,  accord- 
ing to  our  informant,  hardly  enough  for  himself  and  his 
wife.  The  people  were  at  the  present  time  very  badly 
off  and  were,  indeed,  destitute  of  what  elsewhere  might 
well  be  considered  absolute  essentials,  such  as  articles 
of  clothing,  cooking  and  table  utensils,  wood,  canvas  for 
the  upkeep  of  their  boats,  nails,  tools,  rope,  wire,  etc. 
For  a  long  time  they  had  been  without  luxuries  in  the 
way  of  food,  such  as  tea,  sugar,  flour  or  biscuit,  and 
commodities  such  as  soap,  .candles,  etc. 

In  the  old  days,  said  Glass,  the  settlement  had  been 
much  better  off,  for  ships  had  appeared  within  reach  of 
their  boats  many  times  a  year,  and  with  them  they  had 
bartered  live  stock  and  potatoes,  produced  on  the  island, 
for  what  they  themselves  required  in  the  way  of  general 
commodities.  Nowadays,  ships  seemed  to  have  entirely 
left  the  ocean,  and  they  were  in  a  bad  way. 

He  and  his  brother,  John  Glass,  are  direct  descend- 
ants of  Corporal  William  Glass,  who  founded  the  settle- 
ment. He  accounted  for  his  "  larnin' "  and  general 
knowledge  of  conditions  by  the  fact  that  he  had  been 
away  from  the  island  for  eighteen  years,  had  apparently 

Tristan  da  Cunha  223 

travelled  a  good  deal  on  one  job  and  another,  and  mixed 
with  people.  During  the  South  African  war  he  had 
served  with  Kitchener's  Scouts,  and  had  received  the 
Queen's  medal.  We  gathered  that  he  was  not  lacking 
in  common  sense  and  had  a  pretty  shrewd  knowledge 
of  the  value  of  things. 

Of  the  truth  of  his  statements  with  regard  to  the 
condition  of  the  community  there  could  be  little  doubt, 
and  a  yisit  to  the  settlement  made  later  in  the  day 
showed  that  he  had  not  exaggerated.  They  made  an 
earnest  appeal  to  us  for  help,  and  Commander  Wild 
decided  to  do  all  that  was  in  his  power  to  alleviate  their 

We  had,  fortunately,  on  board  a  considerable 
quantity  of  bulk  stores  in  the  way  of  biscuits,  flour, 
Brazilian  meal,  beans,  etc.,  which  had  been  kept  in 
reserve  in  view  of  the  possibility  of  our  being  frozen  in 
and  compelled  to  winter  in  the  Antarctic.  These  Com- 
mander Wild  offered  to  Glass,  with  as  much  as  could  be 
spared  from  our  stores  of  a  wide  variety  of  foods,  such 
as  tea,  sugar,  coffee,  cocoa,  dried  milk,  Quaker  oats, 
lentils,  split  peas,  jam,  chocolate,  cheese,  tinned  meats, 
tinned  fish,  salt  beef,  candles,  matches  and  soap.  We 
gave  them  also  from  the  deck  stores  a  quantity  of 
planking,  rope,  wire,  nails,  paint,  canvas,  and  two 
good  spars. 

In  addition  to  this  we  had  brought  with  us  in  the  ship 
a  large  letter  and  parcel  mail  and  numerous  packages 
sent  privately  for  the  islanders,  including  several  sent  in 
gratitude  by  a  sailor  who  had  been  shipwrecked  there  and 
who  had  been  very  kindly  treated.  We  had  a  busy  day 
getting  all  these  goods  out  of  the  hold  and  stacking 
them  along  the  ship's  side  ready  to  be  placed  in  the 

224  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

boats.  When  all  was  ready  we  signalled  the  return  of 
the  others,  who,  as  soon  as  they  had  approached  to  within 
a  measurable  distance  of  the  ship,  started  shouting  in- 
numerable questions  to  Bob  Glass.  The  purport  of  them 
all  was  :  "  What  are  they  going  to  give  us  ?  " 

Glass  clambered  on  to  the  gunwale  of  the  ship  and 
started  shouting  back  in  a  high,  piping  voice.  We  saw 
their  faces,  which  had  worn  a  look  of  anxiety,  suddenly 
break  into  smiles  when  they  heard  what  we  could  do, 
and  they  became  like  a  lot  of  schoolboys  informed  of 
a  holiday,  shouting  gleefully  to  each  other  and  singing 
snatches  of  song.  Indeed,  these  people  are  very  child- 
like in  many  of  their  ways. 

The  loading  was  an  awkward  job.  Everything  had 
to  be  lowered  slowly  and  carefully  over  the  side  and 
placed  gently  in  the  boats,  for,  being  made  of  canvas 
and  frail  craft  at  best,  anything  dropped  into  them  with 
a  bump  would  assuredly  have  gone  through  the  bottom. 
The  difficulty  was  increased  by  the  swell  and  the  rolling 
of  the  Quest,  which  caused  the  boats  to  rise  and  fall  and 
surge  in  and  out  in  the  most  awkward  manner.  We  were 
interested  to  note  that  many  of  the  islanders  who  came 
aboard  were  sea-sick,  but  recovered  when  they  clambered 
back  into  their  own  boats.  Evidently  they  were  used 
to  the  short,  quick  motion  of  the  smaller  boats,  whilst  the 
more  pronounced  roll  of  the  Quest  upset  them.  They 
plied  to  and  fro  till  everything  was  ashore,  where 
it  was  stacked  in  an  imposing  pile  at  the  top  of  the 

After  lunch  I  went  ashore  with  Worsley  and  some 
others  of  the  party.  We  went  in  an  "  island  "  boat. 
Worsley,  known  amongst  the  South  Sea  Islanders  as 
"  Tally  ho,"  from  his  habit  when  approaching  through 


sift'       ut... 




F kotos :  IVilkifis 

Fhoto  :  Dr.  Mackun 


Photo:  iVilkins 

Tristan  da  Cunha  225 

the  surf  of  shouting  the  well-known  hunting  call, 
"  Yoicks  !  Tally  ho,  tally  ho,  tally  ho-000-oh  !  "  insisted 
on  taking  the  steer  oar,  and  as  the  boat  neared  the  beach 
raised  his  cry,  to  the  amusement  of  the  crew  and  the 
people  on  shore.  They  enjoy  little  jokes.  On  the  beach 
there  was  a  scene  of  activity.  The  goods  were  being 
loaded  into  small  carts,  each  drawn  by  two  bullocks. 
They  were  rough  and  primitive  affairs.  The  wheels 
were  made  from  sections  of  a  tree  which  had  been  blown 
up  on  the  island  some  years  previously.  The  oxen  were 
small  but  strong  looking. 

The  way  from  the  beach  led  up  a  winding  rocky 
pathway  to  the  top  of  a  cliff,  and  thence  along  to  the 
settlement,  distant  about  half  a  mile. 

Tristan  da  Cunha,  in  the  greater  part  of  its  extent, 
is  very  mountainous,  but  on  the  northern  side  there  is  a 
stretch  of  flat  land  about  six  miles  long  and  from  half 
to  one  mile  deep.  Behind  it  rises  the  mountain,  sheer 
and  steep,  to  a  height  of  from  two  to  three  thousand 
feet,  from  where  it  slopes  more  gradually  to  the  summit. 
In  front  cliffs,  fifty  or  sixty  feet  high,  drop  abruptly  to 
the  sea,  but  are  broken  here  and  there  by  beaches  of 
black  sand. 

The  settlement,  composed  of  a  number  of  small 
stone  cottages,  is  situated  on  the  eastern  end  of  the  flat 
land,  which  is  grass-covered  and  strewn  with  boulders. 
The  western  end  provides  good  grazing  ground  for 
sheep  and  cattle,  and  in  the  sheltered  spots  small 
portions  are  set  aside  for  growing  potatoes. 

On  the  way  we  met  several  women  and  children. 
The  women  were  well  built  and  healthy  looking,  and 
wore,  like  the  men,  a  variety  of  clothing.  They  also 
showed  differences  of  colour  and  feature,  one  whom  I 

226  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

noticed  being  quite  blonde.  The  children  are  attractive, 
very  quiet  and  demure  in  their  deportment — what  the 
islanders  themselves  call  "  old  fashioned."  I  do  not 
think  their  demureness  was  altogether  due  to  the 
presence  of  strangers  amongst  them,  for  before  I  finally- 
left  the  island  I  had  had  a  chance  to  observe  them  in 
their  play  and  made  friends  with  a  number  of  them,  but 
I  never  saw  anything  approaching  boisterousness. 

In  many  respects  the  settlement  differed  little  from 
an  Irish  village.    Geese  waddled  about  the  common  and 
showed  their  resentment  of  too  close  an  approach  with 
the  usual  hissing  and  stretching  of  the  neck.    All  about 
were  little  pigs — long-nosed  and  lean-flanked,  obviously 
not  far  removed  in  type  from  the  original  "  wild  pig  " — 
which  were  rooting  up  the  earth  with  their  snouts.    Each 
had  an  attendant  fowl  which  accompanied  it  in  its  move- 
ments and  picked  at  the  newly  turned  earth.    There  are 
a  number  of  dogs  on  the  island,  mongrel  curs  of  which 
one  would  grudge  even  the  admission  that  they  were 
"  just   dog,"   and   there   seems   to   be   a  regular   feud 
between  them  and  the  pigs.    Whenever  a  dog,  accom- 
panying his  master  on  a  walk,  encounters  a  pig,  it  rushes 
up,  barking  furiously,  and  only  desists  when  the  pig, 
squealing  violently,  is  stretched  at  full  speed.    The  pig 
gets  very  angry,  but  immediately  after  goes  on  rooting. 
There  was  something  very  ludicrous  about  this  little 
piece  of  byplay,  which  always  provoked  a  laugh  from  us. 
On  the  slope  behind  the  settlement  a  flock  of  sheep, 
numbering  a  hundred  or  so,  was  grazing.     Here  and 
there  about  the  common  I  saw  donkeys,  all  of  them 
very  diminutive. 

At  the  entrance  to  the  settlement  we  came  to  a  brisk 
little  stream  of  clear  water,  which  we  crossed  by  a  ford. 

Tristan  da  Cunha  227 

We  were  met  by  Mr.  Rogers,  the  missionary,  who  had 
recently  come  to  the  island. 

Therd  are  in  all  about  twenty  completed  houses  and 
others  of  which  the  walls  have  been  built,  but  which, 
from  lack  of  material,  have  never  been  roofed  over. 
The  first  one  we  came  to  belonged  to  Henry  Green,  a 
small,  self-reliant  man  whom  we  had  already  met  on  the 
ship.  He  gave  us  a  cordial  invitation  to  come  in  at  any 
time  we  cared.  He  had  a  small  flagstaff,  from  which 
flew  a  Union  Jack  that  had  been  presented  to  the 

Commander  Wild  had  detailed  me  to  stay  on  Tristan 
da  Cunha  whilst  the  ship  proceeded  to  Nightingale  and 
Inaccessible  Islands,  and  I  now  made  inquiries  as  to 
where  I  could  stay.  Bob  Glass  said  immediately  :  "  You 
come  right  'long  to  my  house,  and  Til  tell  my  wife  she 
got  to  look  after  you  and  give  you  everything  she  got, 
which  ain't  much,  I  may  tell  you."  He  now  led  me  to 
it,  and  introduced  me  to  his  wife  and  family,  which 
numbered  eight — six  boys  and  two  girls.  His  wife,  who 
was  a  second  wife  and  not  the  mother  of  any  of  his 
children,  was  a  very  pleasant  woman,  with  quiet,  natural 
manners.  She  told  me  she  would  be  glad  to  put  me 
up  for  as  long  as  I  cared  to  stay  on  the  island.  The 
members  of  the  family  varied  in  age  from  a  young  man 
of  twenty-two  years — who  was  married  and  had  two 
children  of  his  own — to  a  bright  lad  of  eight.  The  girls, 
aged  twenty  and  seventeen  respectively,  seemed  to  be 
very  pleasant,  but  had  little  to  say,  being,  I  think,  rather 
shy  and  bashful  in  the  presence  of  a  stranger.  Bob 
Glass  said  to  me  after  :  "  That  gel  Wilet " — Violet,  the 
elder — "  she's  a  f oine  gel ;  me  and  she  never  had  a  cross 
word.     But  that  there  Dorothee — she's  wery  loively." 

228  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Quite  what  form  the  liveliness  took  I  never  learnt,  but 
his  words  led  me  to  believe  that  Miss  Dorothy  was  a  less 
dutiful  and  obedient  daughter  than  Violet. 

This  house  resembles  all  the  other  houses  of  the 
settlement,  which  are  erected  to  more  or  less  the  same 
design,  being  long,  low,  oblong  structures  built  of  stones 
of  considerable  size  and  weight.  The  side  walls  are 
usually  a  little  more  than  two  feet  thick,  and  the  end 
walls  are  heavily  buttressed.  They  all  face  the  same 
way,  so  as  to  be  end  on  to  the  prevailing  winds,  which 
blow  at  times  with  great  strength  and  with  sudden 
violent  gusts. 

The  roofs  are  composed  of  wooden  beams,  and  are 
thatched  over  with  tussock  grass,  which  is  made  into 
bundles  and  lashed  securely  to  the  beams  so  that  they 
overlap  from  above  downwards.  A  layer  of  turf  is 
placed  to  cover  the  apex  where  the  two  sides  meet.  The 
ceilings  and  floors  are  made  of  wood — odd  pieces  begged 
from  ships,  taken  from  packing  cases  or  found  along  the 
seashore — collected  only  with  much  patience  over  a 
period  of  months  or  years  before  enough  is  accumulated 
for  the  purpose.  Much  of  the  planking  in  the  older 
houses  has  been  derived  from  ships  wrecked  on  one  or 
other  of  the  islands.  In  the  house  of  Mrs.  Repetto  there 
is  a  piece  from  the  stern  of  a  small  vessel  bearing  the 
name  Mabel  Clarke  which  had  gone  ashore  forty  years 
previously.  The  insides  of  the  stone  walls  are  faced 
with  wood  in  the  same  way.  The  space  left  between 
thatch  and  ceiling  is  used  universally  as  a  store  room. 
Windows,  except  in  the  case  of  one  of  the  houses,  are 
on  one  side  only,  and  face  the  sea  to  enable  a  good  look 
out  to  be  kept  for  passing  ships.  The  exception  is  in 
the  house  just  mentioned,  that  of  Mrs.  Repetto,  whose 

Tristan  da  Cunha  229 

husband  (deceased),  an  Italian  sailor,  survivor  of  a  ship 
wrecked  on  the  island,  must  have  been  a  man  of  much 
ingenuity  and  practical  ability,  for  the  house  is  much 
better  equipped  and  furnished  in  every  way  than  any 
other  in  the  settlement. 

Taken  on  the  whole,  the  houses  keep  remarkably 
dry  and  are  durable,  though  the  tussock  thatch  often 
requires  renewing  in  patches  and  the  turf  is  often  lifted 
away  in  the  fiercer  gales.  They  are  divided,  in  the 
majority  of  cases,  by  a  single  wall  into  living-room  and 
bedroom,  but  a  few  have  an  additional  room.  There  is 
a  fireplace  at  one  end  of  the  living-room  made  of  stone, 
with  two  or  three  pieces  of  iron  let  in.  In  some  of  the 
houses  the  cooking  is  done  in  these  fireplaces,  but  in 
others,  especially  where  the  family  is  a  large  one,  an 
annexe  is  built  on  to  the  end  of  the  house  to  act  as  a 
kitchen.  In  one  or  two  of  the  better  houses  a  separate 
kitchen  is  included  in  the  main  building.  Each  house 
boasts  a  table  and  some  chairs,  often  very  rickety,  and 
most  of  them  have  also  a  wooden  settee,  or  "  sofa,"  as  it 
is  generally  called.  Some  possess  tablecloths  and  sofa 
covers  and  have  a  few  bright  pictures  on  the  walls. 
Others  are  lacking  in  these  luxuries,  the  walls  being  bare 
or  adorned  only  with  one  or  two  tracts.  As  a  rule  the 
houses  are  kept  clean,  but  in  this  they  vary  very  much, 
depending  upon  the  occupants.  One  must  understand 
some  of  the  difficulties  they  have  in  this  respect.  Brushes 
and  brooms  are  a  rarity ;  they  use  whisks  made  from  the 
"  island  tree,"  which  answer  only  moderately  well.  They 
are  often  without  soap,  and  when  there  is  any  on  the 
island  it  has  to  be  used  with  the  greatest  economy. 
Taking  everything  into  consideration,  I  think  they  are 
to  be  congratulated  upon  what  they  achieve  in  this  way. 

230  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Rats  came  ashore  from  a  ship  called  the  Henry  B. 
Paul,  wrecked  on  the  back  of  the  island.  They  increased 
and  multiplied  so  rapidly  that  they  have  overrun  the 
place  and  are  found  in  the  lofts  of  every  house.  To 
combat  them  a  few  cats  are  kept,  but  whilst  I  was  living 
ashore  I  preferred  the  company  of  the  rats  to  that  of  the 
cats,  which  are  most  unpleasant  brutes  and  more  than 
half  wild. 

Fleas  swarm  all  over  the  settlement,  and  none  of  the 
houses  seem  to  be  wholly  free  from  them.  As  a  doctor, 
I  had  occasion  to  examine  many  of  the  people.  Nearly 
all  of  them  were  extensively  flea-bitten,  but  some  seemed 
to  have  escaped  their  ravages.  I  found  no  trace  of 
other  body  parasites. 

Any  man  starting  to  build  a  house  here  sets  himself 
a  difficult  task.  The  stone  is  fairly  easily  obtained  and 
set  up.  Boulders  carried  down  from  the  mountain  strew 
the  lower  slopes,  and  there  are  plenty  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  the  settlement.  They  are  brought  in  by  secur- 
ing them  with  chains  to  which  bullocks  are  attached,  the 
number  of  animals  varying  with  the  size  of  the  boulder. 
They  are  dragged  bodily  over  the  ground,  the  work, 
however,  being  the  easier  in  that  most  of  the  distance  is 
down  hill.  Soft  boulders  are  selected,  and  are  cut  to 
shape  with  small  axes.  A  number  of  men  sit  or  kneel 
about  the  boulder  to  be  cut,  chipping  away  little  pieces 
in  turn  with  rapid  strokes  of  the  axe. 

Wood  presents  to  the  prospective  builder  a  much 
harder  problem,  and  many  a  young  man  anxious  to 
marry  or  a  young  married  couple  eager  for  their  own 
home  have  to  spend  long  weary  months,  or  even  years, 
in  accumulating  the  wood  necessary  to  make  the  roof, 
the  ceiling  or  the  floor.    The  shores,  not  only  of  Tristan 

Tristan  da  Cunha  231 

da  Cunha,  but  also  of  Inaccessible  and  Nightingale 
Islands,  are  eagerly  searched  for  driftwood.  Especially 
is  it  difficult  to  collect  the  crossbeams,  those  in  existence 
having  come  from  wrecked  ships.  The  islanders  regard 
it  as  a  regrettable  fact  that  "  wracks  "  are  becoming  more 
and  more  scarce.  Many  of  the  occupied  houses  are  only 
partially  ceilinged  over,  and  have  holes  in  the  floor  which 
their  occupants  are  unable  to  complete  or  repair  for  lack 
of  the  necessary  wood.  The  holes  in  the  floor,  if  not  too 
large,  are  covered  by  boxes  in  which  belongings,  the 
lares  et  fenates,  are  kept. 

When  completed,  the  houses  make  snug  little 
dwellings  and  adequately  meet  the  needs  of  the 

As  Commander  Wild  was  not  leaving  for  Inacces- 
sible Island  till  next  day,  I  slept  that  night  on  the 
Quest,  but  told  Mrs.  Glass  that  I  should  come  ashore 
the  next  day  to  stay.  I  felt  that  my  board  might  be  a 
bit  of  a  burden  to  her,  and  was  anxious  to  bring  with  me 
sufficient  stores  amply  to  cover  my  stay. 

The  next  day  (May  20th)  was  beautifully  fine,  with 
bright  sunshine.  Commander  Wild  sent  ashore  the 
scientific  staff,  with  assistants,  to  carry  on  their  special 
work.  Jeffrey  verified  the  position  of  the  settlement  and 
took  bearings  of  all  the  more  salient  points  on  the 
northern  side  of  the  island.  Wilkins  took  his  cameras 
and  cinematograph  machine,  and  had  a  busy  day  pho- 
tographing the  people  in  the  various  stages  of  their 
work,  family  groups,  cottages  and,  indeed,  anything  of 
interest.  Carr  made  observations  of  the  flat  land  to  the 
west  of  the  settlement  with  regard  to  its  future  useful- 
ness as  a  landing-place  for  aircraft.  Douglas  made 
an  ascent  to  the  peak  of  the  mountain  for  geological 

232  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

purposes,  whilst  Mcllroy  seized  the  opportunity  of  dis- 
cussing with  Mr.  Rogers,  the  missionary,  meteorological 
work  and  observations. 

The  most  interesting  event  of  the  day  was  a  parade 
of  the  Tristan  troop  of  Boy  Scouts,  which  was  turned 
out  for  Commander  Wild's  inspection.  The  troop  was 
instituted  by  Mr.  Rogers  on  his  arrival,  and  was,  of 
course,  still  very  raw.  It  was  surprising  to  note  how 
well  these  boys  looked  and  how  altered  in  appearance 
they  were  after  changing  from  their  nondescript  gar- 
ments to  the  smart  new  uniforms.  After  considerable 
manoeuvring,  they  were  finally  drawn  up  on  parade, 
when  Marr,  in  full  Scout  uniform  with  kilt,  formally 
presented  a  Scout  flag  specially  sent  out  by  Sir  Robert 
Baden-Powell  for  this  purpose.  The  boys  felt  a  little 
bit  overcome  by  the  occasion  and  responded  indifferently 
to  the  words  of  command,  but  under  the  circumstances 
any  but  the  most  friendly  criticism  would  be  unfair.  The 
boys  appeared  to  be  keen,  Mr.  Rogers  was  keen,  and 
it  is  probable  that  the  next  people  to  hold  an  inspection 
will  see  a  very  different  turnout.  Everyone  on  the  island 
witnessed  the  ceremony,  and  all  the  women  donned  their 
best  clothes  for  the  occasion.  I  had  thought  that  they 
would  have  taken  a  greater  interest  in  the  kilt,  but  they 
seemed  hardly  to  notice  it — unlike  the  women  of  France 
and  Italy,  who  during  the  war  were  so  fascinated  by  the 
Highland  uniforms.  Mr.  Rogers  and  Marr  had  quite  a 
lengthy  talk  on  Scout  matters. 

The  islanders  very  hospitably  looked  after  all  who 
had  come  ashore,  which  included  most  of  the  crew  of  the 
Quest,  inviting  them  to  their  houses  for  meals.  Jeffrey 
and  I  had  both  lunch  and  dinner  with  Bob  Glass,  waited 
upon  royally  by  Mrs.  Glass,  "  Wilet "  and  ''  Dorothee," 

Tristan  da  Cunha  233 

whilst  a  large  number  of  peeping  faces  grouped  them- 
selves about  the  door  and  windows. 

After  the  parade  of  Scouts  Commander  Wild  went 
back  to  the  ship.  He  permitted  the  others  to  stay  longer, 
but  gave  instructions  that  they  were  to  go  aboard  before 
dark.  There  was  some  delay,  however,  and  to  hurry 
them  up  he  fired  a  detonator,  which  burst  with  a  loud 
report  and  a  spangle  of  stars  and  reverberated  in 
numerous  echoes  from  the  hillside.  The  effect  was 
extraordinary.  Every  living  thing  on  the  island  was 
thoroughly  startled;  dogs  bolted  and  yelped,  girls  and 
children  screamed  and  ran  for  the  houses,  whilst  sheep, 
pigs,  geese  and  poultry  scampered  in  all  directions  in 
the  wildest  confusion. 

Soon  afterwards  I  saw  the  lights  of  the  Quest  pass- 
ing out  in  the  direction  of  Inaccessible  Island.  With  her 
went  three  of  the  islanders  whom  Commander  Wild  had 
taken  to  act  as  pilots  and  guides.  They  were  Robert 
and  John  Glass  and  Henry  Green. 

I  had  spent  the  day  in  seeing  sick  people  or  people 
who  thought  that,  seeing  a  doctor  had  come  to  the  island, 
they  might  just  as  well  get  him  to  have  a  look  at  them. 
The  men  came  to  see  me  at  Robert  Glass's  house,  and 
later  Mrs.  Glass  conducted  me  on  a  tour  of  the  settle- 
ment to  see  a  number  of  women  patients.  There  were 
numerous  minor  ailments :  sprains,  old  fractures,  or 
"  brocks,"  as  the  islanders  call  them,  which  had  reunited 
with  serious  deformity,  rheumatism,  and  a  condition  they 
call  "  ashmere,"  meaning  asthma.  This  seems  to  be  the 
most  prevalent  complaint  on  the  island.  Taken  on  the 
whole,  however,  they  are  a  very  healthy  little  community. 

I  had  with  me  in  my  medical  equipment  a  small  port- 
able electric  battery.    In  the  evening  a  man  named  Tom 

234  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Rogers,  who  had  received  an  injury  to  his  arm  some 
time  before,  came  for  treatment,  and  I  gave  him  some 
electrical  massage.  He  was  delighted  with  the  sensa- 
tion, and  made  everyone  who  came  to  the  house  take  the 
terminals  and  feel  it  also.  I  got  several  of  them  to  join 
hands,  and  passed  the  current  through  all  of  them  at  one 
time.  Tom  Rogers  kept  sending  for  more  and  more 
people  to  "  feel  the  electricity  "  until  the  house  was  full. 
Finding  that  the  current  passed  through  any  part  of  the 
body  that  was  touched,  he  determined  to  play  a  joke  on 
a  new-comer,  suddenly  touching  his  ear  whilst  a  strong 
current  was  passing.  The  new-comer,  Gordon  Glass, 
who  had  never  seen  such  a  thing  before,  was  consider- 
ably startled,  to  the  great  joy  of  all  the  others,  who 
thoroughly  appreciated  the  joke  and  retailed  it  all  over 
the  settlement,  to  my  undoing,  for  I  had  to  demonstrate 
the  experiment  again  and  again. 

I  found  that  these  islanders,  when  gathered  together, 
were  a  genial,  pleasant  lot,  very  good  tempered,  and 
quick  to  see  humour.  Though  intelligent  in  many 
respects,  most  of  them  had  absolutely  no  interest  in 
anything  happening  outside  the  island ;  but,  considering 
their  isolated  position  and  lack  of  communication  with 
the  rest  of  the  world,  together  with  their  inability  to  read, 
this  can  easily  be  understood. 

Bob  Glass  had  given  his  family  instructions  to  put 
me  in  his  bed  and  to  clear  out  of  the  house  and  leave 
me  to  myself.  Goodness  knows  where  they  went  to.  I 
turned  in  and  quickly  fell  asleep,  to  awake  very  soon 
with  a  sensation  that  all  was  not  well.  The  trouble 
proved  to  be  a  countless  host  of  small  marauders,  which 
were  very  persistent  and  voracious.  I  had  no  more  sleep 
that  night. 

Tristan  da  Cunha  235 

The  next  day  (Sunday,  21st)  I  was  up  early.  Mrs. 
Glass  brought  me  a  cup  of  very  strong  black  coffee  with- 
out sugar  or  milk.  Acting  probably  on  her  husband's 
instructions,  she  brought  me  also  some  hot  water  for 
shaving.  This  accomplished,  I  sallied  forth  to  the  clear 
brook  and  started  sponging  down,  to  find  myself,  much 
to  my  embarrassment,  an  object  of  interest  to  sundry 
small  children  of  both  sexes. 

Breakfast  was  served  to  me  in  solitary  state,  which 
was  a  disappointment,  for  I  had  hoped  to  sit  down  with 
the  family.  The  meal  consisted  of  mutton  and  potatoes, 
as  did  all  the  meals  I  had  whilst  remaining  on  the  island. 
Mrs.  Glass  would  have  fed  me  on  her  share  of  the  stores 
from  the  Quests  but  I  told  her  I  was  tired  of  ship's  food 
and  wanted  a  change. 

The  weather  had  changed;  it  was  raining  hard,  and 
the  wind  having  come  round  to  the  north-west,  from 
which  direction  it  blew  up  strongly,  it  looked  as  if  a  land- 
ing would  not  be  effected  on  Inaccessible  Island.  I 
wondered  what  the  Quest  was  doing — at  least,  I  knew 
very  well  what  she  was  doing,  and  felt  glad  I  was  on 
terra  firma. 

I  called  on  the  Rev.  and  Mrs.  Rogers,  and  later  went 
to  church,  the  service  being  held  in  the  little  schoolroom. 
It  was  well  attended.  One  side  of  the  room  was  filled 
by  the  women,  who  left  their  husbands  to  get  in  where 
they  could.  They  looked  well  in  their  best  cotton 
dresses,  with  bright-coloured  handkerchiefs  tied  over 
their  hair.  This  form  of  headgear  is  very  picturesque, 
very  practical,  and  eminently  suited  to  this  wind-blown 
island.  I  was  accompanied  by  my  hostess,  and  hoped 
to  get  a  back  seat  where  I  could  see  all  that  was  going 
on;  but  room  being  made  for  me  on  the  front  bench,  I 

236  Shackleton*s  Last  Voyage 

was  bound  to  accept.  I  regret  to  say  that  I  was  guilty 
of  many  turnings  of  the  head.  The  service  was  short 
and  simple.  I  was  surprised  at  the  hearty  way  in  which 
everyone,  both  men  and  women,  joined  in  the  hymns, 
which,  as  most  of  them  could  not  read,  they  must  have 
learnt  by  heart.  I  was  told  that  the  wife  of  a  previous 
missionary  had  taught  them  a  number  of  the  best-known 
hymns,  and  that  the  "  New  Missus  "  (Mrs.  Rogers)  was 
bringing  them  up  to  scratch  again  in  their  singing.  A 
larger  place  is  necessary,  for  the  room  was  filled  and 
several  people  hung  about  the  door  unable  to  find  a  seat. 
All  the  missionaries  who  have  been  on  the  island  have 
tried  to  persuade  the  people  to  build  a  church  for  them- 
selves, but  without  success. 

After  church  I  called  on  Gaetano  Lavarello,  one  of 
the  shipwrecked  sailors  from  the  Italia,  a  Genoese  by 
birth.  I  spoke  to  him  in  his  own  language,  which  he 
understood,  but  found  when  he  attempted  to  reply  that 
he  had  lost  the  fluent  use  of  his  mother  tongue,  having 
for  nearly  forty  years  spoken  nothing  but  English.  He 
expressed  himself  as  quite  content  with  life  on  the  island. 
He  had  married  a  Glass,  and  had  several  children.  He 
said  the  thing  he  felt  the  lack  of  most  was  tobacco.  He 
had  not  had  a  smoke  for  a  long  time,  and  asked  me  if  I 
could  give  him  some  plug  or  a  stick  of  hard  tobacco, 
offering  in  exchange  a  sheep.  He  said  :  "  I  have  the 
largest  flock  and  the  best  sheep  on  the  island,  and  I  will 
give  you  a  good  one."  Unfortunately,  I  had  no  tobacco, 
but  told  him  I  had  no  doubt  that  Commander  Wild 
would  give  him  some  when  the  ship  returned,  and  would 
not  require  the  sheep. 

I  then  called  on  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Rogers.  They  are 
known  by  the  islanders  as  "  Reverend  Rogers "  and 

Tristan  da  Cunha  237 

"  The  Missus,"  which  names  I  adopted,  for  there  are 
so  many  "  Rogers  "  on  the  island  as  to  be  confusing. 
They  asked  me  to  have  lunch,  during  which  they  told 
me  of  the  difficulties  and  heavy  expenses  they  had  been 
put  to  in  order  to  come  out  and  take  up  their  work  on 
this  island.  Apparently  it  was  an  entirely  individual 
enterprise,  and  the  Church  organization  had  taken  no 
part  in  it  at  all.  The  first  assistance  of  any  sort  which 
they  had  received  was  at  Cape  Town,  where  considerable 
interest  is  taken  in  this  little  outpost. 

The  "  Missus  "  was  only  nineteen  years  of  age,  and 
had  had  no  previous  experience  to  guide  her  in  her 
preparations  for  the  life  she  was  to  lead.  It  takes  a  lot 
of  pluck  for  a  woman  to  cut  herself  off  from  all  home 
connexions  and  bury  herself  in  a  small  spot  like  this, 
shut  off  entirely  from  the  outside  world,  without  guid- 
ance or  counsel  in  the  changes  and  chances  which  fall 
to  the  lot  of  every  married  woman.  I  admired  the 
courage  and  enthusiasm  with  which  she  faced  her  self- 
imposed  task,  which  included  not  only  the  instructing 
of  the  unwilling  youth  of  Tristan  da  Cunha  in  clean- 
liness, morality  and  the  "  three  R's,"  but  also  such 
multifarious  duties  as  nurse,  midwife,  scribe,  reader  and 
general  adviser  to  the  womenfolk. 

In  the  afternoon  I  again  visited  some  of  my  patients. 
One  woman  was  really  very  ill  and  in  need  of  hospital 
attention.  I  did  my  best  to  persuade  her  to  go  to  Cape 
Town.  The  husband,  on  having  things  represented  to 
him,  was  agreeable,  but  there  were  numerous  objections. 
I  asked  "  The  Missus  "  to  use  her  influence  to  persuade 
her  to  seize  the  chance  of  a  passing  vessel  to  go.  It 
must  be  admitted  that  this  reluctance  to  leave  the  island 
is  natural.     These  people  have  no  money  and  are  not 

238  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

well  off  for  clothes  (I  believe  this  was  the  chief  objection 
in  the  mind  of  the  good  lady  herself),  and  the  leaving 
of  the  island  to  those  who  have  known  nothing  else 
resolves  itself  into  a  great  adventure  into  an  unknown 

Commander  Wild  had  asked  me  to  take  a  census  of 
the  island,  and  this  I  proceeded  to  do,  visiting  the  houses 
in  turn.  There  was  considerable  vagueness  about  ages, 
and  in  many  cases  about  names  also.  On  more  than 
one  occasion  a  man  (it  was  always  the  stupid  male  sex) 
did  not  seem  clear  about  his  own  name,  sometimes  con- 
tradicting himself  or  appealing  to  bystanders  for  con- 
firmation. As  may  be  gathered  from  the  history  of  the 
settlement,  with  comparatively  few  exceptions  everyone 
on  the  island  is  either  a  Glass,  Green,  Swaine  or  Rogers. 
Consequently,  individuals  are  better  known  by  Christian 
names  than  by  surnames,  which  probably  accounts  for 
their  vagueness.  It  is  rather  remarkable  that  with  so 
few  names  amongst  them  the  new  chaplain  should  be  a 

The  history  of  Tristan  da  Cunha  is  interesting.  The 
island  was  discovered  in  1506  by  a  Portuguese  navigator, 
Tristao  da  Cunha,  from  whom  it  takes  its  name,  and 
though  individuals  on  different  occasions  lived  on  it  for 
short  periods  at  a  time,  for  three  hundred  years  it 
remained  nobody's  property.  It  was  formally  annexed 
by  Great  Britain  in  18 16,  and  a  garrison,  consisting  of 
about  one  hundred  men,  placed  there,  with  the  object  of 
resisting  any  attempt  by  foreign  Powers  to  use  it  as  a 
base  of  operations  for  the  rescue  of  Napoleon  from 
St.  Helena.  The  garrison  remained  for  a  year  only. 
Corporal  Glass,  of  the  Royal  Artillery,  a  native  of 
Kelso,  in  Scotland,  asked  for,  and  received,  permission 

Tristan  da  Cunha  239 

to  stay.  He  had  married  a  coloured  woman  from  Cape 
Colony,  and  had  at  the  time  two  children.  It  was  no 
doubt  the  possession  of  this  black  wife  that  chiefly 
influenced  his  decision.  He  was  joined  by  Alexander 
Cotton  and  Thomas  Swaine,  two  members  of  the  relief 
ship.  This  little  party  was  augmented  by  some  ship- 
wrecked American  whalers,  but  none  of  them  remained 
long,  the  only  names  persisting  to-day  of  the  original 
settlers  being  Glass,  Swaine  and  Cotton.  Some  twenty 
years  later  Pieter  William  Green,  a  Dutchman,  was 
wrecked  on  Inaccessible  Island,  and  having  made  his 
way  to  Tristan  da  Cunha,  elected  to  remain.  About  the 
middle  of  the  century  two  American  whalers,  Rogers  and 
Hagan,  also  settled  there,  and  more  recently,  within  the 
present  generation,  two  Italian  sailors,  Andreas  Repetto 
and  Gaetano  Lavarello,  survivors  cast  upon  the  shores 
from  the  wreck  of  the  sailing  ship  Italia^  were  so  deter- 
mined never  again  to  risk  their  lives  upon  the  ocean  that 
they  also  threw  in  their  lot  with  the  islanders  and  stayed. 
Of  the  original  settlers,  only  Glass  was  married. 
The  others  obtained  wives  through  the  good  offices  of 
the  captain  of  a  whaling  vessel,  who  brought  five  women 
from  St.  Helena.  It  was  a  funny  way  of  choosing  their 
mates,  and  the  islanders  of  to-day  speak  of  the  incident 
as  a  great  joke,  guessing  at  the  feelings  of  their  great 
grandsires  when  they  went  to  meet  their  brides  and 
speculating  upon  the  methods  adopted  in  the  selection. 
Occasionally  the  settlement  has  been  temporarily  aug- 
mented by  other  shipwrecked  sailors,  who  seized  an  early 
opportunity  to  get  away  in  some  passing  ship.  There  is 
evidence  to  show  that  they  introduced  a  certain  amount 
of  new  blood  amongst  the  islanders,  for  some  of  them 
had  children  which  were  born  after  their  departure.    No 

240  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

new  names  were  introduced,  however,  for  the  children 
adopted  the  names  of  the  mothers.  This  factor  must  be 
taken  into  account  when  considering  the  effects  upon  the 
present  generation  of  intermarriage  and  consanguinity. 

The  original  garrison  brought  to  the  island  a  con- 
siderable quantity  of  live  stock  in  the  shape  of  cattle, 
sheep,  pigs,  geese,  poultry,  donkeys  and  goats,  and  were 
responsible  for  the  laying  down  of  the  "  potato  patches," 
small  walled-in  potato  gardens  situated  about  two  miles 
to  the  west  of  the  settlement  under  the  lee  of  some  high 
mounds.  The  live  stock  throve,  and  there  are  repre- 
sentatives to-day  of  every  species  except  the  goats,  which 
took  to  the  hills,  but  were  destroyed  by  the  heavy  torrents 
which  rapidly  form  and  sweep  down  the  gullies  whenever 
there  is  heavy  rain. 

From  time  to  time  attempts  have  been  made  to  intro- 
duce corn,  maize  and  vegetables  of  different  sorts,  but 
owing  to  the  violent  winds  which  prevail  they  have  never 
been  a  success.  Practically  the  only  vegetable  grown 
in  useful  quantity  to-day  is  the  pumpkin,  and  this  is  in 
no  great  abundance.  In  the  sheltered  gullies  at  the 
back  of  the  island  there  are  some  very  stunted  apple 
trees  which  produce  small  crops  of  apples. 

The  herds,  from  which  they  derive  their  supply  of 
meat,  milk  and  butter,  and  the  potatoes  have  met  the 
chief  food  requirements  of  the  islanders,  but  for  every- 
thing else  they  have  relied  upon  trade  with  passing 
merchant  ships  and  whalers. 

In  the  days,  not  very  remote,  when  a  number  of  sail- 
ing ships  were  making  the  Australian  passage  round  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope  and  during  the  period  of  whaling 
activity,  the  islanders  throve,  for  the  ships  were  glad  to 
obtain  fresh  meat  and  potatoes,  and  gave  in  exchange 


Photos:  Dr.  Macklin 


Tristan  da  Cunha  241 

things  of  general  value,  such  as  clothes,  tools  and 
materials,  and  flour,  sugar,  tea  and  soap.  With  the 
establishment  of  fixed  whaling  stations  ashore  and  the 
rapid  disappearance  of  sailing  ships  in  favour  of 
steamers,  which  are  more  or  less  independent  of  winds 
and  follow  fixed  routes,  carry  refrigerating  plants,  and 
to  whom  delay  means  loss  of  money,  this  trade  by  barter 
has  languished  and  died  away.  They  are  a  prolific 
people.  The  population  has  increased  and  is  likely  to 
increase  more  rapidly  with  every  generation,  so  that 
their  needs  to-day  are  greater  than  they  have  ever  been 
since  the  foundation  of  the  settlement. 

For  this  history  of  the  island  I  am  indebted  to  Miss 
Betty  Cotton,  an  interesting  old  lady  of  ninety-five  years, 
to  whom  I  paid  many  visits.  In  spite  of  her  age  she  is 
still  very  bright  and  active,  with  a  clear  memory  for  past 
events,  of  which  she  took  a  pleasure  in  narrating  to  me 
the  salient  facts  I  have  set  down,  together  with  a  wealth 
of  more  intimate  detail  which  might  well  fill  a  volume. 
In  everything  which  it  was  possible  to  yerify  I  found  her 
to  be  very  accurate.  Indeed,  she  was  really  a  wonderful 
old  lady,  for  she  still  moved  actively  about  the  settle- 
ment on  fine  days.  She  regretted,  however,  that  she  was 
no  longer  able  to  face  the  fiercer  gusts  of  wind  and  her 
sight  was  very  bad.  She  asked  me  to  give  her  some 
pills,  not  because  she  felt  ill,  but  had,  I  suppose,  the 
general  impression  that  some  pills  would  do  her  good. 

It  is  extraordinary  how  all  the  inhabitants  carry  their 
age,  many  of  those  who  should  normally  be  entering  the 
"  sere  and  yellow  "  being  still  bright  and  active  and  in 
appearance  middle-aged.  Many  middle-aged  people, 
in  the  same  way,  give  the  appearance  of  youth.  This 
applies  to  both  sexes,  but  more  particularly  to  the  men. 


242  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Certainly  in  this  island,  situated  "  far  from  the  mad- 
ding crowd,"  there  is  little  of  the  nerve-racking  wear 
and  tear  of  modern  civilization.  Freedom  from  epidemic 
diseases,  the  impossibility  of  over-indulgence  in  tobacco, 
alcohol  or  faked-up  foods,  the  pure  atmosphere  and  the 
healthy  open-air  life  which  they  are  compelled  to  lead 
are,  no  doubt,  factors  in  producing  this  longevity. 


TRISTAN  DA  CUNHA  (continued) ' 

A  GAIN  during  the  night  I  was  attacked  by  marauders, 
/jL  which  allowed  me  little  rest.  In  the  morning, 
after  breakfast,  I  took  a  walk  out  along  the  bluff  to 
see  if  I  could  pick  out  through  my  binoculars  any 
signs  of  the  Quest  at  Inaccessible  Island.  It  was  too 
misty  to  get  a  clear  view,  but  as  there  was  a  strong  nor'- 
westerly  wind  and  a  heavy  swell  with  much  surf,  which 
would  have  made  a  landing  there  quite  impossible, 
it  did  not  seem  likely  that  they  would  be  successful. 
I  was  followed  out  from  the  settlement  by  the  husband 
of  the  woman  whom  I  wanted  to  go  to  Cape  Town.  He 
was  anxious  to  discuss  further  the  possibilities.  Poor 
fellow  !  he  was  very  concerned  for  his  wife's  welfare.  I 
went  with  him  to  his  house,  which  is  one  of  the  cleanest 
and  neatest  on  the  island,  situated  some  little  distance 
from  the  rest  of  the  settlement,  to  see  my  patient  again. 
Some  mischievous  though  probably  well-meaning  body 
at  home  had  sent  her  a  large  supply  of  pills,  with  which 
she  had  been  drugging  herself  heavily. 

The  morning  was  wet  and  squally,  so  I  did  not  go 
far  from  the  settlement,  but  walked  about  watching  the 
men  and  women  at  their  work  and  inducing  the  children, 
by  sundry  small  bribes  of  chocolate,  to  come  and  talk  to 
me.  They  were  wonderfully  free  from  shyness.  Later, 
I  called  on  *'  Reverend  Rogers  "  and  "  The  Missus." 
At  I2.0  noon  the  day  cleared,  and  so  I  set  off  with 

^  Dr.   Macklin's  account. 

244  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

Frank  Glass,  one  of  Bob  Glass's  sons,  to  climb  the 
mountain  face.  My  companion,  aged  seventeen  years, 
was  a  bright,  cheery  youth  with  a  firm  belief  that  there 
could  be  no  place  in  the  world  like  Tristan  da  Cunha  nor 
such  an  all-round  lot  of  fine  fellows  as  the  "  Tristanites." 
He  expressed,  however,  a  willingness  to  leave  the  island 
and  see  something  of  that  other  place,  "  the  world,"  but 
would  seize  an  early  chance  to  come  back  again. 

We  crossed  the  settlement  and  the  land  lying  behind 
it,  passing  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain  the  springs  from 
which  the  water  supply  is  derived.  In  this  respect  the 
people  are  well  off,  for  the  water  is  good  and  beautifully 
soft.  The  original  garrison,  in  order  to  divert  the  water 
past  the  houses,  had  built  a  canal,  which  in  some  places 
passed  through  little  tunnels  in  the  hillocks,  and  was 
quite  a  small  feat  of  engineering.  The  volume  is  con- 
siderable, and  the  water  running  to  the  cliff  edge  falls  to 
the  beach  in  a  good-sized  cascade,  which  makes  a  useful 
mark  for  ships  looking  for  the  landing-place. 

The  ascent  of  the  mountain  lay  first  up  a  steep, 
grassy,  boulder-strewn  slope,  from  the  top  of  which  we 
made  a  traverse  across  the  face  of  the  mountain  to  a 
ridge  where  the  climbing  was  steep,  but  where  there  was 
good  hand-  and  foot-hold.  We  zigzagged  up  this  for 
several  hundred  feet.  There  was  abundant  vegetation, 
numbers  of  ferns,  including  a  species  of  tree  fern,  tus- 
sock and  other  forms  of  grass,  mosses,  lichens  and  the 
"  island  tree  "  {phylica  niiida\  a  gnarled  and  stunted 
tree  which  is  found  all  over  the  island  and  which  offers 
firm  holding  for  climbers.  There  were  also  on  the 
lower  slopes  a  number  of  field  daisies,  or  marguerites, 
and  a  species  of  wild  geranium  bearing  a  small  flower 
with  a  pleasant  aromatic  smell.     To  another  plant  my 

Tristan  da  Cunha  245 

guide  gave  the  name  of  "  dog-catcher,"  because  during 
the  summer  it  grows  a  sort  of  ''  burr  "  which  catches  in 
the  hair  of  the  dogs  and  is  very  hard  to  remove. 

Our  route  followed  a  faint  but  definite  track  which  is 
used  constantly  by  the  islanders  in  their  search  for  wood 
to  burn,  and  in  the  season  for  the  eggs  of  mollymauks 
and  other  seabirds  which  nest  there.  Even  the  women 
make  this  ascent. 

We  crossed  several  bold  rocky  bluffs  and  gullies. 
Nowhere  was  there  any  danger,  provided  reasonable 
care  were  used,  but  in  one  or  two  places  one  crept  along 
dizzily  poised  ridges  where  a  false  or  careless  step  would 
have  been  sufficient  to  precipitate  one  to  a  drop  of  two 
or  three  thousand  feet. 

Near  the  top  we  were  enveloped  by  dense  mist 
accompanied  by  squalls  of  rain.  Everything  was 
obscured,  and  so  we  returned  to  the  scrub,  where  we 
built  a  shelter  from  branches  of  the  "  island  tree,''  under 
which  I  sat  and  talked  with  Frank  Glass.  For  one  with 
such  a  limited  outlook,  this  young  man  had  very 
advanced  ideas  on  life  in  general.  He  told  me  quite 
cheerfully  that  the  island  was  faced  with  starvation  and 
ruin.  He  also  remarked  that  it  would  not  do  to  go  on 
marrying  each  other,  and  that  they  needed  new  blood. 
I  recognized  many  of  his  expressions,  however,  as  those 
of  his  father.  Bob  Glass. 

Our  shelter  after  a  while  ceased  to  be  effective,  and 
the  water  started  pouring  through  in  little  rivulets. 
There  were  no  signs  of  the  weather  clearing,  so  we 
descended  some  distance  and  made  a  traverse  to  a  high 
projecting  rock  known  as  ''The  Pinnacle."  This  is  a 
high,  straight  mass  crowned  with  a  little  vegetation.  It 
is  inaccessible  except  by  a  tunnel  running  up  the  middle 

246  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

and  emerging  at  the  top,  up  which  we  scrambled  with 
free  use  of  elbows  and  knees.  Here  we  were  out  of  the 
mist,  and  had  a  fine  bird's-eye  yiew  of  the  flat  part  of 
the  island  and  the  settlement.  The  sea,  edged  with  a 
long  irregular  line  of  white  where  the  surf  was  breaking 
on  the  shore,  stretched  like  a  flat  board  to  a  dim,  far- 
distant  horizon. 

We  were  now  in  bright  sunshine,  and  I  felt  quite 
content  to  lie,  chin  in  hand,  gazing  at  the  tiny  objects 
far  below;  but  whilst  I  was  enjoying  the  view  the  mist 
came  down  the  hill  and  again  enveloped  us.  We  there- 
fore descended  to  the  settlement,  where  we  arrived 
soaked  to  the  skin. 

I  noticed  a  large  crowd  collected  about  one  of  the 
houses,  and  so,  having  put  on  dry  clothes,  I  approached 
to  see  what  was  happening.  I  found  that  the  islanders 
were  engaged  in  dividing  up  the  goods  we  had  sent 
ashore  into  approximately  equal  lots. 

They  have  a  system  of  their  own  for  dealing  with 
common  stores.  When  the  boats  go  out  to  a  ship  barter 
is  first  of  all  carried  out  in  the  name  of  the  community 
for  such  stores  as  tea,  sugar,  flour,  etc.  Each  family  in 
turn  provides  whatever  goods  are  necessary  for  these 
exchanges  in  the  way  of  cattle,  sheep,  geese  or  potatoes. 
When  this  has  been  done,  the  individuals  who  have 
manned  the  boat  may  barter  with  their  own  goods  for 
any  particular  article  which  they  or  their  families  may 
require.  This  includes  articles  of  clothing,  general 
household  utensils,  knives,  wood,  nails,  etc.  In  ex- 
change they  can  give  of  their  own  live  stock  or  polished 
horns,  mats  made  from  penguin  skins,  socks  knitted  by 
the  women,  shells  and  other  curios.  The  goods  brought 
ashore  in  the  name  of  the  community  are  divided  equally 

Tristan  da  Cunha  247 

amongst  the  families  irrespective  of  the  size  of  the 
family,  so  that  a  man  with  eight  or  nine  children  draws 
no  more  than  a  man  who  has  none. 

Everything  that  is  divisible  is  divided  up  even  to 
the  smallest  amounts,  so  that  one  family's  share  of  rice, 
for  example,  may  amount  to  no  more  than  one  spoonful ! 
One  single  piece  of  soap  has  been  known  to  be  divided 
into   eight   pieces !     Things   which    are   obviously   in- 
divisible, such  as  stone  jars,  baskets,  pots  and  pans,  tins 
or  sacks,  are  made  up  into  little  batches  of  as  nearly  as 
possible  equal  value  and  allotted  by  the  system  of  say- 
ing "  Whose  ? "     In  carrying  this  out  one  person  points 
in  turn  to  each  batch,  saying  "  Whose  ?  "  whilst  another, 
blindfolded  or  with  back  turned,  answers  the  name  of 
one  of  the  families.    It  is  a  very  fair  system.    Supposing 
that  there  are  only  twelve  lots  and  twenty  families  to 
draw,  the  caller  shouts  "  Whose  ?  "  twenty  times,  occa- 
sionally indicating  a  blank  by  pointing  at  the  ceiling  or 
floor.    No  name,  of  course,  is  called  twice.    The  women 
adhere  very  rigidly  to  this  division  of  goods,  even  to  the 
extent  of  quantities  which  are  valueless.    The  men,  on 
the  other  hand,  occasionally  decide  to  own  things  jointly, 
such  as  spars,  chains,  tools  or  implements,  or  where  a 
thing  is  obviously  of  use  to  one  man  only — e.g.  an  empty 
cask — they  will  agree  to  take  turns  in  acquiring  it.    Also, 
a  man  who  is  collecting  wood  for  his  house  will  be 
allowed  to  have  for  his  own  use  one  or  more  packing- 
cases  on  the  understanding  that  he  must  compensate 
in  one  way  or  another  later  on.     No  written  note  is 
made,  but  they  seem  to  have  tenacious  memories  in  this 

Again,  in  the  case  of  an  article  which  has  been  blown 
up  on  the  island  too  heavy  or  bulky  to  be  dealt  with  by 

248  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

the  finder  alone,  such  as  a  large  tree  or  a  stranded  whale, 
those  who  help  to  bring  it  to  the  settlement  participate 
equally  in  what  profit  may  result  from  it. 

This  system  was  evolved  by  the  patriarchs  of  the 
community,  men  such  as  Corporal  Glass,  the  founder, 
and  Pieter  William  Green,  each  of  whom  was  for  long 
the  virtual  head  of  the  island.  On  the  whole  it  is  a  very 
fair  one,  and  even  though  it  seems  unjust  that  the  large 
families  should  share  equally  with  the  small  ones,  it  must 
be  remembered  that  the  small  family,  when  it  comes  to 
its  turn  to  find  the  goods  for  barter,  has  to  bear  an  equal 
brunt  with  the  larger.  Children  also  are  not  regarded 
as  a  handicap,  but  as  an  asset,  for  from  the  time  they 
are  able  to  run  about  and  drive  sheep  or  geese  they  work 
for  their  living.  In  England  one's  income  does  not  vary 
with  the  number  of  children,  and  a  bachelor  employee 
receives  the  same  wages  as  a  married  man  if  he  does 
identical  work. 

On  this  particular  occasion  the  work  of  dividing  was 
going  on  merrily,  and  the  young  people  and  children 
were  kept  busy  running  to  and  from  the  houses  with  the 
shares.  The  missionary  and  his  wife  were  acting  as 
umpires  at  the  "  sheering  "  (they  pronounced  long  "  a  " 
as  "  ee  ").  When  it  was  over  I  returned  with  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Rogers  to  their  house,  and  sat  talking  for  a  while. 
They  brought  their  house  with  them  from  England,  cut 
in  sections  all  ready  for  putting  up.  It  is  small  but  snug. 
Their  chief  fear  in  connexion  with  it  is  that  it  may  be 
lifted  and  carried  away  by  some  of  the  fiercer  gusts  of 
wind,  and  they  were  proposing  to  have  it  walled  over 
with  stone.  They  were  very  wise  in  bringing  their  own 
dwelling,  for  the  housing  problem  is  as  difficult  in  Tris- 
tan da  Cunha  as  it  is  in  England  in  these  post-war  days. 

Tristan  da  Cunha  249 

Whilst  I  was  sitting  and  talking  darkness  set  in.  The 
wind  outside  was  blowing  hard,  with  sharp  rain  squalls. 
Mrs.  Glass,  accompanied  by  one  of  her  family,  thinking 
I  might  be  lost,  set  out  on  a  pilgrimage  round  the  settle- 
ment in  search  of  me,  and  was  relieved  when  I  was 
discovered  to  be  all  safe  and  sound.  She  said  that  get- 
ting about  was  awkward  for  a  stranger,  and  thought  I 
might  have  walked  past  the  house  (which  is  the  lowest  of 
the  settlement)  and  fallen  over  the  cliff.  She  said  :  "  You 
stop  now  and  finish  your  talk  with  the  Missus,  and  I'll 
tell  Tom  Rogers  (who  lived  near  by)  to  bring  you  down 
when  you  are  ready."  The  latter  had  supper  with  us. 
He  is  a  pleasant,  talkative  fellow.  Mrs.  Glass  says  he 
will  talk  all  day  to  anyone  he  can  get  to  listen  to  him. 
"  Usually,"  she  says,  "  grown-ups  is  too  busy,  so  he  has 
to  talk  to  one  of  the  children." 

In  the  course  of  conversation  Tom  Rogers  said  that 
he  was  going  to  the  back  of  the  island  to  "  turn  over  " 
his  cattle.  By  "  turn  over  "  he  meant  drive  them  from 
one  pasturage  to  another.  I  asked  if  I  might  accompany 
him.  He  was  willing,  but  thought  that  I  might  find  it  a 
bit  far,  as  it  entailed  a  considerable  walk  and  a  good  deal 
of  climbing.  I  smiled  to  myself,  thinking  that  I  could 
hold  my  own  well  enough  with  any  islander,  more 
especially  as  Gordon  Glass,  a  slim-looking  young  fellow, 
was  also  to  join  the  party.  I  was  to  have  my  eyes 
opened,  however. 

After  Tom  Rogers  had  gone  "  Wilet "  and 
"  Dorothea  "  came  in.  Mrs.  Glass  went  to  the  door  and 
called  into  the  darkness  :  "  Come  in,  don't  be  shoi ;  no 
one  ain't  going  to  hurt  you ;  come  in,  they'se  both  in  !  " 
Whereupon  after  a  good  deal  more  urging  two  very 
sheepish-looking  youths  entered,   and  planting  them- 

250  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

selves  down  on  a  form  said  no  word  at  all  but  gazed 
across  at  the  two  girls.  It  seemed  to  me  that  I  was 
very  much  de  trop,  and  not  wishing  to  be  in  any  way  a 
spoil-sport,  I  made  some  excuse  to  go  out.  It  was  not 
a  pleasant  night,  being  cold,  and  there  was  a  slight 
drizzle.  After  about  half  an  hour  of  stumbling  blindly 
into  every  quagmire  on  the  common,  crossing  the  stream 
at  its  deepest  and  most  slippery  part,  and  causing  all 
the  dogs  in  the  settlement  to  bark,  I  decided  that  I  had 
been  ''  sporting  "  enough  and  returned  to  find  them  in 
exactly  the  same  attitude  as  I  had  left  them.  Later  on, 
touching  on  the  subject  to  Mrs.  Glass,  she  remarked  : 
"  Oh,  they'se  been  coming  every  night  like  that  for  years, 
but  Mr.  Glass  he  ain't  going  to  let  none  of  the  gels  marry 
till  they'se  twenty-one." 

I  had  with  me  in  my  medical  equipment  a  small  bottle 
of  essential  oil  of  lavender,  and  with  it  I  plentifully 
sprinkled  my  bedding  in  the  hope  that  it  would  keep 
away  the  fleas.  I  believe  they  liked  it,  and  the  only 
result  achieved  was  that  I  acquired  a  distaste  for  the 
smell  of  lavender  which  will  probably  last  my  lifetime ! 
However,  as  a  result  of  my  exercise  in  climbing,  I  slept 

In  the  morning  at  8.0  a.m.  Tom  Rogers,  Glass  and  I 
set  off  for  the  back  of  the  island.  The  road,  a  mud  track, 
ran  westwards,  and  led  across  a  deep  gulch  which  had 
been  cut  some  years  previously  by  a  torrent  from  the 
mountain.  We  had  a  stiff  wind  against  us,  which,  in  a 
narrow  passage  between  a  big  bluff  and  the  side  of  the 
mountain,  blew  in  gusts,  against  which  it  was  hard  work 
to  force  a  way  and  which  occasionally  drove  us  back  a 
step  or  two.  Behind  the  bluff  were  several  pyramidal 
grass-covered  mounds,  in  the  shelter  provided  by  which 

Tristan  da  Cunha  251 

are  the  "  potato-patches."  They  consist  of  small  walled- 
in  areas,  the  walls  serving  to  protect  the  plants  from  the 
force  of  the  winds,  which  have  a  yery  deleterious  effect 
upon  the  "  tops."  This  is  amply  demonstrated  by  com- 
paring those  in  well-protected  areas  with  those  which  are 
more  exposed,  the  latter  being  stunted,  dry  and  withered 
looking.  The  potatoes  are  planted  in  September  and 
early  October,  and  taken  up  in  February.  They  are 
small  in  size,  but  otherwise  of  good  quality.  At  the  time 
of  my  visit  (late  May)  the  islanders  were  engaged  in 
collecting  seaweed  from  the  shore  and  conveying  it  in 
bullock-carts  to  the  patches,  where  it  is  allowed  to  rot, 
mixed  with  sheep  manure,  and  placed  on  top  of  the 
potatoes  when  they  are  planted.  The  manure  is 
obtained  by  corralling  the  sheep  and  leaving  them 
closely  penned  in  for  twenty-four  hours.  We  passed 
across  several  more  gulches  and  encountered  some  broad 
patches  of  stone  which  had  been  swept  down  out  of  the 
hills  during  the  rains. 

The  soil  in  this  part  of  the  island  is  better  than  that 
at  the  settlement,  and  provides  a  flat  grassy  plain,  giving 
good  grazing  for  the  sheep  and  cattle  which  are  dotted 
all  about  its  surface  and  climb  up  into  the  lower  slopes 
of  the  mountain.  Both  are  small,  but  of  fairly  good 
quality,  the  meat  which  I  tasted  on  the  island  being 
tender  and  of  good  flavour.  A  number  of  the  cattle  had 
calves,  which  were  pretty  little  creatures. 

On  this  part  of  the  island  the  land  ends  in  short 
cliffs,  at  the  foot  of  which  are  numerous  narrow  beaches 
on  which,  as  we  went  along,  a  heavy  surf  was  breaking, 
looking  pretty  in  the  sunlight  and  having  a  pleasant 

About  five  miles  from  the  settlement  the  flat  ground 

252  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

ends  in  a  high  straight  bluff  running  steeply  down  to 
the  sea.  To  get  round  this  we  had  to  ascend  the  moun- 
tain, having  a  steep  climb  of  about  two  thousand  feet. 
The  cattle  and  sheep,  to  get  to  the  back  of  the  island, 
have  to  make  this  climb,  and  there  is  a  narrow  track, 
worn  by  them,  which  zigzags  upwards,  passing  across 
places  where  one  single  slip  would  mean  destruction  for 
the  animal.  I  am  told  that  very  few  of  them  fall.  They 
must  be  amazingly  sure-footed. 

On  several  occasions  as  we  wound  along  my  com- 
panions pointed  out  to  me  in  some  of  the  sheltered 
gullies  what  they  called  "  orchards,"  little  clumps  of 
apple  trees  so  small,  bush-like  and  stunted  as  to  be 
almost  unrecognizable.  Nevertheless,  each  year  they  get 
small  crops  of  apples  from  them.  I  tasted  some,  and 
found  them  to  have  quite  a  good  flavour.  It  is  from 
these  trees  that  the  cross-pieces  for  their  boats  are  made. 
The  vegetation  in  the  gullies  is  very  luxuriant,  and  the 
grass,  being  sheltered  from  the  winds,  grows  lush  and 
long.  Far  below  the  clefts  ended  in  little  bays,  where  we 
caught  glimpses  of  the  surf  breaking  in  creamy  ridges 
against  the  shore.  We  continued  upwards,  and  came 
suddenly  to  a  sharply  defined  ridge  above  a  steep  preci- 
pice across  which  the  wind  blew  strongly.  We  threw 
ourselves  on  our  faces  and  peered  over  the  edge,  and  got 
a  view  of  the  "  back  of  the  island."  Far  below  us  was  a 
flat  grassy  plain  with  many  cattle  grazing,  and  away  out 
to  sea  we  saw  Inaccessible  and  Nightingale  Islands.  I 
carefully  scanned  their  base  lines  through  my  binoculars 
for  any  signs  of  the  Quest,  but  the  day  was  too  hazy  to 
permit  of  a  clear  view. 

Tom  Rogers  proposed  to  descend  from  here  to  the 
plains  to  "  turn  over  "  his  cattle,  but,  having  climbed  so 

Tristan  da  Cunha  253 

far,  I  was  anxious  to  continue  up  till  I  could  get  a  clear 
view  of  the  top  of  the  mountain,  so  he  good-naturedly  put 
off  the  job  to  another  day,  and  we  went  on  upwards, 
laboriously  working  through  long  tussock-grass  and  thick 
masses  of  tree  fern. 

These  men  with  whom  I  had  thought  to  hold  my  own 
so  easily  seemed  to  be  absolutely  tireless,  and  they  took 
a  keen  interest  in  the  outing  and  in  showing  me  all 
things  of  interest. 

Here  and  there  we  came  across  little  bundles  of 
branches  cut  from  the  "  island  tree."  These  were  loads 
in  process  of  being  collected  to  be  taken  finally  to  the 
settlement  for  firewood. 

Some  of  the  branches  which  went  to  the  formation 
of  these  bundles  had  to  be  dragged  for  a  considerable 
distance  across  the  face  of  the  cliff,  often  only  with  the 
utmost  difficulty.  They  are  collected  eventually  at  a 
point  above  a  gully  which  will  give  a  clear  drop  to  a 
point  thousands  of  feet  below,  where  they  can  be 
gathered  up  and  loaded  into  bullock-carts  for  taking 

Through  my  binoculars  I  could  see  men  at  work  all 
about  the  ridges,  and  I  was  deeply  impressed  by  the 
hardihood  of  the  life  they  must  lead  in  having  thus  to 
fare  abroad  for  their  daily  needs. 

Gordon  Glass  had  with  him  his  dog,  which  occasion- 
ally discovered  a  "  pediunker,"  a  species  of  seabird 
which  frequents  the  island  and  about  this  time  of  year 
is  preparing  to  nest.  They  lay  in  holes  in  the  hillside, 
and  a  search  was  made  for  a  chance  egg,  though  it  was 
still  early  in  the  season  for  them.  We  allowed  the  birds 
to  go  free. 

We  reached  at  last  a  point  where  the  heavier  vegeta- 

254  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

tion  ended  and  the  hill  was  covered  with  a  rather  coarse 
grass  interspersed  with  patches  of  moss.  It  was  very 
damp.  From  here  we  had  a  fine  view,  and  the  air  was 
keen  and  cold.  We  descended  by  another  route,  which 
led  eventually  to  a  cattle  track  where  the  going  was 
easier,  but  the  steepness  and  tortuosity  of  which  again 
impressed  me  with  the  remarkable  climbing  powers  of 
the  animals. 

Reaching  the  plain  again,  we  set  off  at  a  good  round 
pace   for  the   settlement,   where   I   arrived,   I   am  not 
ashamed  to  say,  pleasantly  fatigued  with  the  day's  out- 
ing, whilst  my  companions  seemed  to  think  they  had 
.     done  nothing  out  of  the  way.    I  mention  this  particularly 
I     because  it  has  been  stated  from  time  to  time  by  visitors 
I     that  these  islanders  are  becoming  a  decadent  lot  and  are 
suffering   from  the  results  of   intermarriage   and  con- 
[    sanguinity.     That  they  are  physically  decadent  is  not 
J'    true.     Taken  on  the  whole,  they  are  of  medium  height 
and  slimly  built,  but  they  are  very  tough  and  wiry.    John 
Glass,  whom  I  have  already  mentioned  as  having  been 
the  first  man  aboard  the  Quest  is  a  powerful  man.   Some 
of  the  elderly  men  of  fifty  years  or  thereabouts   are 
wonderfully  nimble  and  active.    They  are  hardy  walkers 
and  climbers,  and  in  their  attempts  to  reach  passing  ships 
are  often  compelled  to  row  long  distances  against  heavy 
winds — a  procedure  which  requires  plenty  of  stamina. 

Speaking  of  them  collectively,  they  are  not  good 
workers,  and  attempts  to  get  them  to  work  together  in 
an  organized  way  for  their  mutual  profit  have  not  been 
successful.  An  attempt  was  made  some  years  ago  by  a 
Cape  Town  firm  to  introduce  a  fish-curing  industry  and 
to  get  them  to  export  sheep,  but  the  islanders  did  not  pull 
together  and  the  scheme  failed.    They  themselves  give 

Tristan  da  Cunha  255 

as  a  reason  that  they  were  being  exploited  and  that  the 
return  was  totally  inadequate. 

It  is  possible  that  due  consideration  was  not  given  to 
their  insularity  and  limitations  of  outlook,  and  that  the 
use  of  a  little  more  patience  and  diplomacy  might  have 
met  with  better  results.  I  doubt  very  much,  however, 
whether  these  islanders  would  ever  settle  down  to  a  daily 
routine  of  work,  having  all  their  lives  been  more  or  less 
their  own  masters  and  able  to  decide  when  th^y  shall  or 
shall  not  work.  Nevertheless,  the  necessities  of  life  com- 
pel that  the  days  spent  at  home  be  few,  and  the  qualities 
of  hardihood  to  which  I  have  referred  are  not  developed 
by  doing  nothing. 

It  has  been  stated  also  that  through  intermarriage 
there  are  numerous  signs  of  deformity  and  mental 
degeneration.  There  are  xery  few  of  these  signs.  As 
to  mental  degeneration,  I  considered  these  islanders  to 
be  very  intelligent.  They  are  uneducated,  limited  in  out- 
look, and  generally  "  insular,"  but  how  could  they  be 
anything  else  in  their  peculiar  circumstances  ?  They  are 
bright,  quick  to  see  humour  and  enjoy  a  joke,  and  are 
morally  much  sounder  than  many  civilized  peoples. 
They  live  on  good  terms,  with  little  quarrelling,  crime  is 
unknown,  and  petty  misdemeanours  are  rare. 

One  youth  is  dumb  and  is  peculiar  in  manner,  but 
works  and  carries  out  ordinary  duties  with  quite  average 
intelligence.  Of  deformities  :  one  old  woman  (the  island 
midwife)  has  two  thumbs  on  each  hand,  but  is  otherwise 
normal.  One  man,  a  particularly  noticeable  case,  has 
stunted  arms,  with  ill-developed  hands  and  absence  of 
some  fingers.  Otherwise,  he  is  strong,  level-headed  and 
intelligent,  works  as  a  shepherd,  and  in  his  duties  roams 
far  and  wide  over  the  hills.    There  are  no  other  signs  of 

256  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

mental  or  physical  degeneration.  The  man  with  the 
stunted  arms  is  able  to  do  wonderful  things,  can  carry 
small  packages,  hold  a  cigarette,  feed  himself,  and,  most 
extraordinary  of  all  in  this  community  of  illiterates,  can 
write.  He  was  taught  by  a  former  missionary  to  the 
island,  Mr.  Dodgson  (brother  of  Lewis  Carroll,  author 
of  "  Alice  in  Wonderland  ").  It  is  surely  a  triumph  of 
patient  teaching.  In  carrying  it  out,  the  paper  is  placed 
on  the  floor  and  the  man  lies  down.  Though  the  writing 
IS  large  and  scrawly,  it  is  legible. 

I  devoted  as  much  time  as  possible  to  conversation 
with  different  people,  trying  to  learn  what  I  could  of  their 
manners  and  customs. 

In  religion  they  are  mostly  Protestant,  but  there  are 
some  who  were  baptized  as  Roman  Catholics  at  Cape 
Town.  There  is,  however,  no  distinction  made  between 
the  religions,  and  they  intermarry.  There  have  been 
several  Protestant  missionaries  on  the  island  at  one  time 
and  another,  but  never  a  Roman  Catholic  priest.  Young 
men  and  women  wishing  to  marry  select  their  own  mates 
by  mutual  agreement  and  are  uninfluenced  by  their 
parents.  The  marriage  service  is  conducted  (in  the 
absence  of  a  missionary)  by  Bob  Glass,  who  reads  it  from 
the  Prayer  Book.  There  is  generally  no  fuss  and  no  sort 
of  function,  but  occasionally  they  have  a  dance  after- 
wards in  one  of  the  houses.  All  the  women  go  to  hear 
the  marriage  service  read,  and  such  of  the  men  as  are 
about  and  have  nothing  better  to  do.  I  noticed  in  talk- 
ing of  weddings  that  the  women  spoke  with  an  absence 
of  enthusiasm  and  showed  none  of  the  interest  that  such 
a  subject  would  arouse  amongst  civilized  feminism. 

Frequently  it  happens  that  a  couple  do  not  become 
married   until   after   a   child   has   been   born;   often   a 


Photos:  Wilkins 



The  Union  Jack  was  piesentcd  by  the    British  Government  to  the  Islanders  for  bravery  in  saving 

lives  from  shipwreck 

Photos:  Wilkins 

(AGED    95    YEARS) 

Tristan  da  Cunha  257 

considerable  period  elapses.  They  are  not,  however, 
"  marriages  of  necessity."  A  young  man  in  Tristan  da 
Cunha  is  very  peculiarly  placed.  There  are  no  jobs  or 
trades  or  form  of  employment  in  the  ordinary  sense. 
There  is  no  currency.  If  any  individual  wants  help,  his 
neighbours  give  him  a  hand,  during  which  time  he  is 
expected  to  feed  them.  A  young  man,  therefore,  can 
acquire  nothing  except  as  a  gift  from  his  parents.  In 
many  ways  it  may  not  suit  his  parents  to  allow  him  to 
marry,  for  it  means,  first  of  all,  another  family  on  the 
island  drawing  a  full  share  of  common  goods.  It  means 
also  the  loss  of  an  adult  worker.  Again,  they  may  not 
be  in  a  position  to  spare  him  anything  in  the  way  of 
household  goods,  and,  if  he  has  not  already  built  a  house, 
it  means  a  wife  and  any  family  he  may  have  quartered 
upon  them.  So  the  young  couple  use  compulsion,  for 
with  the  advent  of  the  child  the  parents  think  it  is  time  to 
make  a  move,  and  present  the  pair  with  a  cow,  a  sheep 
or  two,  and  a  few  household  necessities  to  enable  them 
to  make  a  start.  Until  the  formal  marriage  takes  place, 
the  child  takes  its  mother's  name,  and  so  it  occasionally 
happens  that  a  bewildered  tot  of  three  or  four  year^  of 
age  suddenly  finds  one  day  that,  instead  of  being 
Tommy  Green,  its  name  has  become  Tommy  Swaine,  or 
vice  versa,  as  the  case  may  be. 

Promiscuity  is  not  common  and  morals,  on  the  whole, 
appear  to  be  remarkably  good,  though  to  the  casual 
observer  the  reverse  might  seem  to  be  the  case.  The 
remarks  in  "  Sailing  Directions  "  seem  to  me  to  cast  an 
unfair  stigma  upon  the  islanders. 

In  some  ways  they  are  very  casual.  Appointments 
are  rarely  kept  punctually,  and  they  are  apt  to  put  things 
off  for  another  day. 

258  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

In  the  hours  of  rising  and  going  to  bed  they  are 
governed  by  the  sun.  The  only  form  of  artificial  illumin- 
ation known  to  them  is  candle-light,  and  frequently  they 
have  no  candles.  They  have,  as  a  rule,  three  meals  a 
day,  which  they  take  at  times  convenient  on  any  one  day. 
The  men  seek  to  avoid  going  out  to  work  in  wet  weather, 
but  at  times — for  instance,  in  the  potato  season — ^they 
fare  forth  before  dawn  so  as  to  be  ready  for  work  the 
moment  daylight  appears,  and  do  not  return  till  dusk. 
On  these  occasions  it  is  the  duty  of  the  womenfolk  to 
take  them  out  their  meals. 

There  is  an  island  custom  that  when  the  men  have 
been  engaged  on  an  arduous  piece  of  work  at  some  dis- 
tant part  of  the  island  or  have  had  a  heavy  day  in  the 
boats,  the  women  come  out  to  meet  them  on  their  return 
with  something  hot  to  drink.  Indeed,  the  women  are  by 
no  means  idle,  for  they  have  all  the  inside  housework, 
cleaning,  cooking,  mending,  sewing  and  washing  of 
clothes,  to  do.  They  card  the  fleece  from  the  sheep  into 
wool  and  twist  it  into  strands,  using  for  the  purpose  old- 
fashioned  wheels  which  are  manufactured  with  much  in- 
genuity from  all  sorts  of  odds  and  ends  of  wood  and 
metal.  They  knit  excellent  socks  of  pure  wool,  which 
are  soft  and  comfortable  to  wear.  Usually,  also,  they 
take  charge  of  the  geese  and  poultry,  and,  of  course, 
have  the  children  to  look  after.  They  frequent  each 
other's  houses  a  good  deal,  but  there  are  one  or  two  who 
keep  to  themselves  and  do  not  encourage  visiting. 

Sanitation  is  very  much  neglected.  Closets  do  not 
exist,  and  the  present  clergyman  had  the  greatest  diffi- 
culty in  getting  one  built  for  his  own  house.  Animals 
are  slaughtered  in  close  proximity  to  the  houses,  and  no 
proper  steps  taken  for  the  removal  of  entrails  and  offal. 

Tristan  da  Cunha  259 

which  are  left  for  the  dogs  to  eat.  Nothing  is  done  to 
protect  the  water  supply,  which  is  derived  from  open 
streams  that  have  been  diverted  to  pass  close  to  the 
houses,  and  the  water  becomes  fouled  before  it  reaches 
the  lower  parts  of  the  settlement.  Nevertheless,  the 
settlement  compares  favourably  in  this  respect  with  many 
of  the  remote  villages  in  European  countries. 

The  people  are  very  free  from  sickness  of  any  kind, 
which  is  probably  due  to  their  simple  mode  of  life  and 
the  absence  of  any  epidemic  diseases.  They  escaped  the 
widespread  epidemic  of  influenza.  It  is  likely  that  any 
infectious  disease  introduced  would  run  rapidly  through 
the  whole  community.  They  say  that  almost  invariably 
when  a  ship  has  visited  the  island  "  colds  "  run  the  round 
of  the  settlement. 

Maternity  cases  are  dealt  with  by  an  old  midwife, 
who  adopts  the  wise  policy  of  leaving  things  very  much 
to  Nature. 

This  strange  little  community  is  run  without  any  laid- 
down  system  of  government.  There  are  no  written  laws. 
In  the  early  days  of  the  settlement  Corporal  Glass, 
Pieter  Green  and  William  Rogers  in  turn  ruled  in  patri- 
archal fashion,  all  disputes  being  referred  to  them  for 

By  a  process  of  evolution  certain  customs  and  un- 
written laws  have  come  into  use  and  are,  perhaps,  more 
rigidly  adhered  to  than  any  definite  written  rulings. 
Crime  does  not  seem  to  exist.  In  the  history  of  the 
island  there  has  been  one  case  of  suicide.  Petty  thiev- 
ing is  said  to  occur  occasionally,  but  in  so  small  a  com- 
munity, where  everyone  knows  everybody  else  so  well 
and  their  goings  and  comings,  any  stolen  article  would  be 
quickly  recognized,  so  that  their  honesty  in  this  way  may 

26o  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

be  enforced  through  certainty  of  detection.  Sheep  are 
occasionally  missed,  and  it  is  thought  that  theft  may 
account  for  some  of  them,  the  depredations  being  carried 
out  at  night  and  the  animal  immediately  skinned  and  cut 
up  so  that  it  is  unrecognizable  in  the  morning.  There 
is  no  policeman,  no  jail,  and  no  system  of  punishment 
for  offenders.  It  seemed  to  me  that  they  liyed  very 
harmoniously  together,  with  much  give  and  take  and  very 
little  quarrelling. 

It  is  curious  that  the  minds  of  visitors  to  this  settle- 
ment have  been  mainly  struck  in  two  very  different  ways. 
To  the  first  class  this  island  community  seems  to  have 
approached  the  ideal.  The  French  captain,  Raymond 
du  Baty,  who  visited  the  island  in  1907,  says  : 

The  social  status  of  Tristan  da  Cunha  is  a 
commonwealth  of  a  kind  which  has  been  dreamed  of 
by  philosophers  of  all  ages  and  by  our  modern 
Socialists.  There  is  no  envy,  hatred  or  malice  among 
them ;  everything  is  done  for  the  common  good ;  they 
render  each  other  brotherly  service ;  they  are  free  from 
all  the  vices  of  civilization;  they  worship  God  in  a 
simple  way;  they  live  very  close  to  Nature,  but  with- 
out pantheistic  superstition;  greed  and  usury  are  un- 
known among  them;  there  are  no  class  distinctions, 
no  rich  or  poor.  Truly  on  this  lonely  rock  in  the  South 
Atlantic  we  have  a  people  who  belong  rather  to  the 
Pastoral  Age  of  the  world  than  to  our  modern  unrest- 
ful  life,  and  who,  without  theory  or  politics  or  written 
laws,  have  reached  that  state  which  has  been  described 
by  the  imaginative  writers  of  all  ages,  haunted  by  the 
thought  of  the  decadent  morality  of  the  seething  cities, 
as  the  Golden  Age  or  the  Millennium. 

Tristan  da  Cunha  261 

I  have  often  wondered  as  to  what  place  the  fleas, 
the  rats,  the  offal  outside  the  window  and  the  fouled 
water  supply  take  in  the  Golden  Age. 

The  second  class  of  people  are  struck  at  once  by  the 
extreme  poverty,  the  squalor  and  lack  of  comforts,  the 
illiteracy  and  ignorance  and  the  extreme  isolation.  The 
captain  of  a  steamer  who  had  once  called  to  drop  mails 
said  to  us : 

They  are  a  greedy  lot  of  beggars  and  thieves. 
When  they  come  aboard  they  ask  you  for  everything 
they  see,  and  if  you  do  not  give  them  what  they  want 
they  will  try  and  pinch  it.  When  it  comes  to  a  matter 
of  a  bargain,  they  give  you  diseased  sheep  and  bad 
potatoes,  though  they  have  good  enough  stuff  ashore. 

The  question  which  arises  to  the  mind  of  everyone 
is  :  What  is  to  become  of  these  people,  with  a  rapidly 
increasing  population  and  a  decreasing  touch  with  out- 
side civilization  owing  to  lack  of  shipping  ?  The  pastur- 
age on  the  island  will  support  only  a  limited  number  of 
live  stock,  which  soon  will  be  insufficient  for  the  increas- 
ing number  of  mouths. 

I  inquired  of  many  of  them,  especially  the  younger 
ones,  as  to  whether  they  would  leave  the  island  and  settle 
elsewhere  if  they  had  the  opportunity.  The  reply  in 
most  cases  was :  Yes,  provided  they  were  given  a 
chance  to  make  a  decent  living.  They  realize,  however, 
that  without  money  and  knowledge  of  its  use  and  value, 
without  experience  of  outside  ways  of  working  and 
living,  without  education  and  unable  even  to  read  or  to 
write,  they  are  likely  to  be  at  a  disadvantage  in  a  hard, 
workaday  world. 

Robert  Glass  and  some  of  the  others  who  have  spent 

262  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

some  time  away  from  the  island  fully  realize  that  there 
is  a  day  of  reckoning  to  come,  and  they  feel  that,  were 
it  possible,  it  would  be  a  good  thing  for  the  young  men 
when  they  have  reached  a  certain  age  to  go  away  and 
work  for  a  while  at  Cape  Town  or  elsewhere.  They  could 
then  decide  whether  they  would  return  to  the  island  or 
not,  and,  if  they  did,  it  is  likely  that  they  would  bring 
back  wives  from  the  outside,  thus  periodically  introduc- 
ing new  blood  to  the  community.  Glass  himself  says 
he  would  like  his  boys  to  serve  a  period  in  the  army  or 
navy,  where  they  would  have  a  more  or  less  sheltered 
life  and  to  a  certain  extent  be  cared  for  and  looked  after. 

It  is  not  likely  that  any  offer  of  a  wholesale  trans- 
ference of  the  community  to  another  part  of  the  world 
would  be  accepted  when  it  came  to  the  point — at  any 
rate,  by  the  elder  people.  After  all,  this  is  natural 
enough,  for  how  many  people  in  England,  told  that  the 
population  was  getting  too  big  for  the  country,  would 
consent  at  a  day's  notice  to  make  a  sudden  shift  to 
Canada  or  Australia? 

Nevertheless,  I  gathered  from  conversation  with 
many  of  the  young  men  that  there  is  deep  down  a  seed 
of  unrest  and  a  desire  to  see  something  of  the  outer 
world,  where  there  are  so  many  more  opportunities  to 
get  on  and  acquire  greater  wealth,  including  such  things 
as  wrist-watches,  electric  torches,  and  boots  of  real 
leather.  For  this  Robert  Glass  is  largely  responsible. 
The  seed,  however,  requires  cultivation.  A  missionary, 
by  throwing  himself  into  the  interests  of  the  islanders 
and  becoming  to  some  degree  one  of  themselves,  might 
effect  considerable  good  by  holding  out  continually  in 
his  daily  talk  and  conversation  prospects  and  mind 
pictures  of  a  greater  world  where  opportunities  wait  for 


Photos :  Mackltn 

Tristan  da  Cunha  263 

the  young  men  who  can  grasp  them.  Equally  good 
results  might  be  effected  by  influencing  the  women  in  the 
same  way.  A  missionary,  however,  to  obtain  a  good 
influence  on  these  people  must  be  a  man  of  broad  mind 
and  sound  common  sense.  One  previous  missionary,  for 
example,  undid  much  good  work  by  an  attempt  to  stop 
them  going  out  to  passing  ships  on  a  Sunday,  a  maxim 
which  they  must  necessarily  reject  when  the  chances  of 
trade  on  any  day  at  all  are  so  few  and  the  taking  of  them 
so  vital  a  matter  to  the  whole  community.  Mr.  Rogers, 
the  present  missionary,  who  replied  yery  frankly  when  I 
asked  him  his  views  on  the  subject,  agreed  that  much 
harm  might  be  done  by  holding  too  narrow  a  view  and 
trying  to  force  a  bigoted  religion  on  these  people.  He 
has  an  uphill  fight  in  front  of  him,  for  he  has  to  undo  a 
feeling  that  the  observance  of  a  religion  is  a  bugbear 
which  entails  a  number  of  things  that  may  not  be  done. 

Unfortunately,  the  chances  of  leaving  the  island, 
even  if  an  individual  has  made  up  his  mind  to  make  the 
venture,  have  now  become  very  scarce.  There  is  no 
regular  communication,  and  consequently  arrangements 
for  a  job  cannot  be  made  beforehand,  and  as  there  is  no 
money  on  the  island  those  who  do  find  a  passage  cannot 
maintain  themselves  until  work  is  found. 

It  so  happens,  however,  that  there  are  people  in  Cape 
Town  who  take  an  interest  in  Tristan  da  Cunha  and  who 
would  be  willing  to  give  temporary  help. 

It  is  hardly  likely  that  the  Government  will  ever 
again  do  anything  for  the  relief  of  these  people,  though 
all  that  is  required  is  a  small  vessel  to  make  the  journey 
once  a  year  from  Cape  Town.'    It  should  be  prepared  to 

1  I  learn  on  going  to  press  that  H.M.S.  Dublin  is  to  visit  the  island  in 
the  near  future. 

264  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

spend  at  least  a  week  at  Tristan  da  Cunha.  Unfortun- 
ately, there  is  no  good  shelter,  and  on  many  days  a  land- 
ing could  not  be  effected.  Bad  weather  might  compel 
the  ship  at  any  moment  to  leave  her  anchorage,  and  so 
she  should  have  some  power  other  than  sail. 

The  best  time  of  year  to  make  the  trip  is  January, 
when  bad  weather  would  least  likely  be  met  with.  A 
vessel  of  a  hundred  tons  burden  would  be  adequate. 

This  is  but  a  tiny  portion  of  our  Empire,  but  who 
knows,  with  the  development  of  flying  machines,  of  what 
use  it  may  not  ultimately  become.  Carr,  our  flying 
officer,  late  of  the  Royal  Air  Force,  says  there  is  a  good 
site  for  an  aerodrome,  and  the  island  is  on  the  direct 
route  from  Cape  Town  to  Buenos  Aires. 

The  Church  organization  also  could  do  a  vast  amount 
of  good  by  arranging  for  a  permanent  mission  change- 
able, say,  every  three  years,  and  thus  ensure  an  unbroken 
education  to  those  growing  up.  Much  money  is  collected 
yearly  for  missions — for  instance,  to  the  Esquimaux — 
but  there  is  evidence  from  the  Arctic  to  show  that  the 
introduction  of  Christianity  to  these  primitive  people, 
who  are  not  sufficiently  evolved  to  receive  it  intelligently, 
has  not  always  been  productive  of  good,  and  in  some 
cases  has  done  much  harm,  whereas  the  value  to  Tristan 
da  Cunha  of  a  good  sound  practical  religion  combined 
with  good  schooling  cannot  be  doubted. 



ON  May  26th  the  wind  was  fair  for  Gough  Island 
and  we  made  good  progress.  Our  ship  had  be- 
come a  floating  farmyard,  for  our  live  stock  included 
sheep,  geese,  fowls,  pig,  cat,  and,  to  stir  them  up 
and  make  things  lively,  our  own  dog  Query,  who  had 
never  before  had  so  many  interesting  real  live  things 
to  play  with.  The  sow  Bridget  and  the  geese  wandered 
all  about  the  decks  and  got  in  the  way  generally.  One 
gander  was  quite  a  character.  He  was  blind  of  one 
eye  and  had  a  curious  knack  of  standing  with  head  on 
one  side,  quizzically  regarding  anyone  he  encountered. 
Regularly  about  once  an  hour  he  uttered  a  loud  and  very 
startling  goose-call.  We  called  him  Nelson,  and  his 
mate,  who  followed  him  like  a  shadow  wherever  he  went, 
was  known  as  Jemima.  Worsley  in  his  watch  below  way 
being  continually  wakened  by  Nelson's  harsh  noises, 
and  on  one  occasion  I  saw  his  head  appear  through  his 
port  and  heard  him  shout :  **  Be  quiet,  you  silly  beggar, 
you  are  not  saving  Rome  now.  That  happened  years 

Bridget  was  a  tyrant;  she  would  not  let  the  sheep 
alone,  but  rooted  about  in  their  grass  feed,  and  having 
collected  it  into  a  nice  bed  for  herself,  lay  down  on  it 
in  stertorous  sleep  whilst  the  sheep  looked  on,  advanc- 
ing now  and  again  to  take  an  apologetic  nibble  at  their 
own  grass.     Dell,  who  had  taken  in  hand  the  attempt 


266  Shackleton^s  Last  Voyage 

to  fatten  these  poor  animals,  drove  her  off  relentlessly 
to  the  accompaniment  of  much  squealing. 

We  had  a  busy  day  squaring  up  after  our  upheaval 
at  Tristan,  and  in  getting  ready  the  camping  gear  for 
use  on  Gough  Island. 

On  May  27th  at  about  12.0  noon  the  island  showed 
up.  In  spite  of  the  comparatively  short  run  we  had  had 
some  difficulty  in  picking  it  up  on  account  of  winds, 
strong  tides  and  no  sun,  which  made  it  impossible  for 
Worsley  and  Jeffrey  to  locate  exactly  our  position,  and 
the  visibility  was  so  poor  that  we  could  see  less  than  a 
mile  in  any  one  direction.  About  noon,  however,  it 
appeared  as  a  high  mass  crowned  with  mist. 

This  island  lies  about  250  miles  south-south-east  of 
Tristan  da  Cunha.  It  was  discovered  by  Portuguese 
navigators  in  the  sixteenth  century  and  received  the 
name  Diego  Alvarez.  In  1731  Captain  Gough  in  the 
Richmond  sighted  an  island  which  he  placed  on  the 
chart  as  lying  to  the  east  of  Diego  Alvarez  and  named 
Gough  Island.  For  many  years  two  separate  islands 
were  believed  to  exist,  but  now  there  can  be  no  doubt 
they  are  one  and  the  same.  The  name  in  most  common 
usage  is  Gough,  which  seems  hardly  fair  to  its  original 

In  181 1  it  was  sighted  by  H.M.S.  Nereus  under 
Captain  Heywood.  He  effected  a  landing,  described 
as  being  safe  and  easy,  and  discovered  the  remains  of 
two  huts  which  apparently  had  been  set  up  some  time 
previously  by  sealers.  The  height  of  the  summit  of  the 
island  was  estimated  by  him  at  4,380  feet.  American 
sealers  landed  in  1825  but  soon  left.  Morrell  visited  it 
in  the  Antarctic  in  1829,  and  came  to  anchor  in  twelve  to 
fourteen  fathoms  in  a  cove  on  the  north  side,  where  he 

Photo:  Dr.  Mack  it  n 

ON    THE    WAY    TO    THE    SUMMIT.      THE    APOSTLE    AND 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      267 

was  able  to  water  his  ship.  H.M.S.  Royalist  arrived  in 
1887,  and  a  survey  was  carried  out  by  Lieut.  J.  P. 
Rolleston  from  which  the  Admiralty  Chart  (2228)  was 
made.  Towards  the  end  of  the  same  year  an  American 
schooner,  Francis  Alley n,  left  a  party  of  five  sealers 
for  six  months  who  met,  however,  with  little  success. 
Amongst  them  was  George  Comer  who  kept  a  diary.  He 
seems  to  have  been  a  keen  observer  very  interested  in 
natural  history,  and  his  diary  contains  a  complete  daily 
record  of  weather  conditions  during  his  stay.  One  of 
the  party  was  frozen  to  death  whilst  attempting  to  cross 
over  the  island,  and  his  grave  was  marked  by  a  board 
bearing  the  inscription,  "  Jose  Gomez  perished  in  the 
snow."  Another  sealer,  the  Wild  Rose,  visited  the 
island  at  the  beginning  of  1891  and  landed  a  party  which 
remained  for  about  a  year.  They  had  little  luck  in  the 
sealing.  A  harbour  known  as  Snug  Harbour  is  described 
by  one  of  them  as  being  situated  at  the  southern  end 
of  the  island  lying  between  two  large  rocks  known  as 
Castle  and  Battery  Rocks,  suitable,  however,  only  for 
small  vessels  and  boats.  Landing  is  said  to  be  not 
difficult,  and  the  higher  ground  easily  accessible  at  this 

On  only  one  occasion  previous  to  our  arrival  had 
scientific  investigators  landed  :  in  1904  Dr.  Bruce  and 
members  of  the  staff  of  the  Scotia  succeeded  in  effect- 
ing a  landing.  They  were  ashore  for  one  day  only, 
and  bad  weather  and  the  necessity  of  "  standing  by  " 
for  a  sudden  recall  prevented  their  going  far  afield. 
Nevertheless  they  made  full  use  of  their  time  and  suc- 
ceeded in  collecting  a  number  of  new  specimens  of  both 
animal  and  plant  life.  Accounts  had  shown  the  island 
to  be  difficult  of  access,  but  I  was  particularly  anxious 

268  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

to  allow  the  naturalist  and  geologist  with  their  assistants 
as  many  chances  as  possible  for  the  collection  of  speci- 
mens and  the  examination  of  its  natural  features.  This 
being  mid-winter  I  feared  that  weather  conditions  might 
not  be  altogether  propitious. 

We  passed  along  the  coast,  keeping  a  close  look  out 
for  an  anchorage  for  the  ship  and  good  landing-places 
for  the  boats.  Through  binoculars  we  saw  that  the 
island  was  covered  with  vegetation,  of  which  tussock 
grass,  tree  ferns  and  island  trees  were  the  most  distin- 
guishable. In  most  places  the  land  rose  steeply  from 
the  sea,  and  down  the  face  of  the  cliffs  numerous  water- 
falls, long  and  thin,  resembling  mare's  tails,  fell  in  long 
cascades.  Every  now  and  then  they  had  the  appearance 
of  being  cut  abruptly  in  half,  the  wind  in  strong  gusts 
catching  the  lower  portions  and  blowing  them  away  in 
fine,  almost  invisible,  spray.  The  rocky  outline  of  the 
island  was  marked  with  numerous  caves  and  chasms,  and 
striking  features  of  its  formation  were  pinnacles  which 
stood  up  distinct,  bold  in  outline,  some  smooth  and 
tapering,  others  jagged  and  irregular.  Steep  rocky 
islands,  sharply  cut  off  from  the  shore  and  separated 
from  it  by  narrow  channels,  rose  sheer  and  straight  from 
the  sea,  some  bare,  some  crowned  with  a  mass  of  vegeta- 
tion, most  of  them  so  steep  as  to  be  quite  inaccessible. 

Of  bird  life  we  saw  very  little  as  we  passed  along 
the  coast.  A  few  sea-hens  fiew  out  at  our  approach, 
while  here  and  there  on  the  rocks,  usually  near  the 
entrance  to  some  cave,  we  could  distinguish  the  white 
bodies  of  terns. 

We  rounded  in  turn  West  Cape,  South  West  Cape, 
South  Cape  and  South  East  Cape.  Snug  Harbour  on 
the  east  side   of   South  West   Cape   much   belies   its 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      269 

name,  for  "  snug  "  it  is  not.  Indeed,  it  can  hardly  be 
said  that  there  is  a  harbour  there  at  all.  Although  it 
offers  a  lee  and  a  useful  anchorage  during  high  westerly 
winds,  with  no  swell  from  south  or  west,  to  obtain  any 
real  shelter  it  is  necessary  to  lie  very  close  in  to  the 
shore,  closer  than  is  safe  for  any  but  the  smallest  of 
craft.  As  we  passed  there  was  a  heavy  swell  and  strong 
surf  which  made  it  quite  unsuitable. 

In  the  "  Glen  Anchorage  "  on  the  east  coast  we 
found  shelter  and  dropped  anchor  in  twelve  and  a  half 

Just  about  this  time  the  light  began  to  fail,  and  in 
the  gathering  dusk  the  island  had  a  most  romantic 
appearance.  The  glen  forms  a  deep  cleft  at  the  back 
of  which  the  island  rises  to  a  height  of  several  thousand 
feet,  marked  here  and  there  by  bold  outstanding  masses 
of  rock.  Most  remarkable  of  these  is  the  "  Apostle," 
a  lofty  solid  crag  which  from  its  commanding  position 
overlooks  and  dominates  the  glen.  High  up  on  one 
side  is  a  long  narrow  obelisk,  rising  straight  and  steep. 
On  the  other  side  facing  the  harbour  is  a  heavy  broad 
mass  with  straight,  clean-cut  face  crowned  at  the  top 
with  buttresses  resembling  a  mediaeval  castle.  The  glen 
itself  was  in  black  shadow,  and  the  last  rays  of  the  set- 
ting sun  lit  up  the  summit  of  the  island  on  which  was 
gathering  a  rolling  mass  of  sombre  clouds.  The  whole 
setting  was  very  beautiful  and  held  us  momentarily  spell- 
bound, none  caring  to  speak.  Fancy  carried  thoughts 
back  to  the  tales  of  childhood  when  gloomy  keeps  and 
dungeons,  knights  and  fiery  dragons — the  myths  of  later 
years — had  not  ceased  to  be  haunting  realities. 

I  did  not  feel  altogether  at  ease  in  this  spot.  Fierce 
winds  blowing  gustily  down  the  glen  caused  the  ship 

270  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

to  swing  continually  in  different  directions.  There  was 
a  considerable  swell  running  in  from  the  sea,  and  I  knew 
that  a  change  of  wind  blowing  strongly  round  South 
East  Point  would  make  our  position  a  very  uncomfort- 
able one.  There  was  no  moon  and  the  night  was  black 
as  pitch.  I  had  a  sharp  watch  set,  and  as  it  was  difficult 
to  get  good  bearings  of  the  land  ordered  that  soundings 
with  the  hand  lead  be  taken  every  half-hour. 

I  had  already  arranged  for  a  party  to  go  ashore  the 
next  day  :  Wilkins  and  Marr  to  make  natural  history 
collections,  Douglas,  Carr  and  Argles  to  do  geological 
and  survey  work,  and  Naisbitt,  whose  steady  work  on 
the  ship  had  earned  him  a  run  ashore,  to  act  as  cook. 
Wilkins,  as  being  the  most  experienced  of  these,  was 
placed  in  charge.  I  warned  them  to  be  ready  at 

The  next  day  was  fortunately  fine.  I  took  the  boat 
ashore  with  Macklin,  Mcllroy  and  Kerr  at  the  oars. 

At  the  mouth  of  the  glen  there  is  a  narrow  beach 
of  large  boulders.  On  the  south  side  a  stream  runs 
into  the  sea.  "  Archway  Rock,"  a  large  rock  eighty- 
five  feet  high  with  a  tunnel  obviously  drilled  by  the 
running  stream,  gives  an  imperfect  protection  to  this 
side  of  the  beach.  A  strong  surf  was  running,  but  I 
managed  to  effect  a  landing  under  the  lee  of  the  rock, 
and  after  two  journeys  succeeded  in  putting  the  party 
ashore  with  their  equipment.  This  was  not  accom- 
plished without  considerable  wetting.  A  strong  wind 
was  blowing  down  the  glen,  and  I  was  able  to  let  the 
boat  lie  off  and  with  the  boat's  crew  go  ashore  also. 
Owing  to  the  changeable  conditions  I  did  not  care  to 
go  far  away  from  the  landing-place,  but  I  sent  Macklin 
up  the  glen  to  get  a  general  impression  of  the  higher 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      271 

parts  of  the  island  and  if  possible  obtain  some  photo- 
graphs, while  with  the  others  I  explored  the  parts  around 
the  landing-place  and  the  glen. 

The  scientific  party  had  brought  with  them  two  tents, 
one  of  which  they  started  to  set  up.  The  other  was  not 
required,  for  we  found  on  the  flat  piece  of  ground  above 
the  beach  two  huts,  one  of  wood  and  corrugated  iron, 
the  other  built  of  boulders  from  the  beach  and  thatched 
with  tussock  grass.  Both  of  them  were  in  fairly  good 
condition,  and  showed  that  the  island  had  been  recently 
inhabited  by  someone.  Mice  swarmed;  they  were  very 
tame  and  showed  little  fear  of  us.  All  around  lay  in- 
struments for  mineralogical  examination ;  picks,  shovels, 
hand  pump  and  hose,  washing  pans,  mortar  and  pestle, 
rope,  axes  and  many  other  things.  In  the  huts  were  cook- 
ing utensils  and  a  few  unopened  tins  of  preserved  food, 
some  of  which  were  badly  "  blown."  I  found  on  one 
of  the  shelves  a  half-used  box  of  matches,  and  test- 
ing one  I  was  surprised  to  find  that  it  ignited  readily. 
There  was  a  little  cave  to  the  right  of  the  huts  above 
which  a  stone  had  been  affixed,  bearing  the  following 
inscription  : 

F.  X.  Xeigler,  R.  I.  Garden,  J.  Hagan, 
W.  Swaine,  J.  C.  Fenton,  Cape  Town, 


The  carving  had  been  done  by  someone  who  knew 
his  job  for  it  had  been  very  neatly  executed. 

At  the  back  of  the  hut  and  along  the  sides  of  the 
stream  were  numerous  trenches  and  excavations,  appar- 
ently where  examinations  had  been  made.  One  had 
the  impression  that  a  search  had  been  carried  out  for 
diamonds  or  precious  metal,  but  that  nothing  having 

272  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

materialized  the  party  had  just  dumped  down  their  tools 
and  decamped. 

Vegetation  appeared  to  be  very  luxuriant,  tussock 
grass  growing  in  large  clumps  covered  the  flat  ground. 
Close  to  the  beach  and  along  the  side  of  the  stream 
there  were  numerous  wallows,  which  from  their  shape 
and  from  the  smell  which  emanated  from  them  showed 
that  sea  elephants  frequented  the  island  in  large 
numbers  during  certain  seasons.  I  discovered  two 
young  bulls  lying  in  the  stream  close  to  the  sea. 
Ferns  of  many  kinds  grew  everywhere.  The  slopes 
were  covered  with  masses  of  tree  fern,  and  amongst 
the  smaller  varieties  was  a  very  pretty  maidenhair. 
There  were  several  clumps  of  wild  celery.  The  only 
trees  on  the  island  were  island  trees,  which  appar- 
ently never  grow  to  great  size,  but  many  of  which  were 
larger  and  thicker  than  any  I  saw  on  Tristan  da  Cunha. 

Birds  resembling  thrushes  but  of  a  yellowish-green 
colour  flew  down  and  hopped  about  close  to  us.  They 
seemed  to  be  quite  unafraid,  and  were  so  tame  that  if 
one  kept  still  for  a  few  minutes  they  would  perch  on 
one's  feet  and  could  be  easily  caught  by  dropping  a 
hat  over  them.  Sea-hens  flew  about  overhead  showing 
a  marked  interest  in  the  invaders,  or,  perched  on  some 
near  point  of  vantage,  regarded  proceedings  with  a 
watchful  eye.  They  did  not  allow  anyone  to  approach 
very  close,  but  Argles,  with  a  well-aimed  geological 
hammer,  succeeded  in  knocking  over  two  of  them,  which 
proved  a  useful  addition  to  the  cooking-pot.  Every 
now  and  then  I  heard  coming  from  the  slopes  the 
occasional  "  chuck-chuck "  of  landrail,  but  the  birds 
remained  hidden  in  the  vegetation. 

I  went  for  a  walk  up  the  glen,  following  the  course 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      273 

of  the  stream.  Foothold  was  bad  owing  to  the  rocks 
being  covered  by  a  slimy  deposit  brought  from  rotting 
vegetation  on  the  slopes.  The  water  was  coloured 
slightly  green  by  the  products  of  decomposition,  but  was 
used  by  the  shore  party  for  drinking  and  cooking  pur- 
poses, apparently  with  no  ill  effect. 

In  spite  of  the  luxuriance  of  growth  there  is  a  great 
deal  of  dampness  and  dank  rottenness  of  the  vegetation 
which  takes  away  much  of  its  attractiveness.  It  is 
possible  that  this  is  most  marked  at  this  time  of  the 
year,  i.e.  June,  mid-winter  in  the  southern  hemisphere, 
and  that  in  summer  things  are  drier,  fresher  and  more 
pleasant.  As  I  went  along  I  caught  an  occasional 
glimpse  of  the  landrails  with  their  bright  red  combs, 
shiny  black  bodies  and  yellow  legs.  These  flightless 
birds  have  little  runways  amongst  the  grass  where  it 
would  be  almost  impossible  to  catch  them  alive.  To 
draw  them  out  I  tried  a  trick  which  I  had  often  carried 
out  with  success  on  Macquarie  Island,  imitating  their 
"  chuck-chuck  "  by  knocking  two  smooth  stones  sharply 
together,  but  though  I  heard  their  answering  calls  draw- 
ing nearer  they  showed  a  great  reluctance  to  venture 
into  the  open. 

This  is  an  island  where  a  marooned  or  shipwrecked 
party  might  live  in  comparative  comfort.  Instinctively, 
whilst  taking  in  all  its  possibilities,  my  mind  reverted  to 
Elephant  Island,  the  grim  and  barren  spot  where  I 
wintered  with  my  party  during  the  last  Antarctic  expedi- 
tion, short  of  food  and  fuel,  bitterly  cold  and  devoid  of 
everything  that  makes  life  endurable.  Here  there  is 
abundance  of  food  and  plenty  of  wood  to  burn,  drift 
wood  from  the  beach  and  the  island  tree  wood.  In 
addition  to  the  animal  life  we  saw  about  us,  the  sea 

274  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

swarms  with  fish  of  excellent  quality,  and  crayfish  can 
be  easily  caught  from  the  rocks.  There  are  also  large 
rookeries  of  rockhopper  penguins  (as  we  saw  later) 
which  provide  good  meat  and  in  the  season  abundance 
of  eggs.  Small  weather-proof  dwellings  of  the  type 
used  on  Tristan  da  Cunha  could  be  built  from  the 
numerous  small  boulders  on  the  beach  and  roofed  over 
with  tussock  grass.  True,  too  long  a  sojourn  might  pro- 
duce some  of  the  disquietude  of  Alexander  Selkirk,  but 
there  would  at  least  be  no  fear  of  starvation,  and  conv 
pared  with  Elephant  Island  the  place  is  a  perfect 
paradise.  I  returned  to  the  landing-place,  and  with 
Mcllroy  and  Kerr  put  off  in  the  boat  and  rowed  into 
the  belt  of  kelp  where  I  was  anxious  to  see  what  kinds 
of  fish  could  be  caught  about  the  island.  It  was  un- 
necessary to  bait  the  hooks,  a  spinner  bait  or  bright  piece 
of  tin  was  sufficient.  The  fish  bit  readily  and  we  quickly 
collected  all  we  required  for  food.  The  variety  found 
in  the  kelp  and  about  the  shore  is  a  reddish-coloured 
fish  with  strong  horny  spines.  It  is  excellent  to  eat. 
From  the  ship  with  strong  lines  and  hooks  we  caught 
"  blue-fish  "  weighing  up  to  forty  pounds,  which  also 
make  good  eating.  Watts  and  Green,  who  are  tireless 
disciples  of  Izaak  Walton,  were  responsible  for  many 
of  these  catches.  Crayfish  were  obtained  by  lowering  a 
weighted  net  baited  with  fish.  Usually  we  hauled  this 
up  full  of  them  with  others  clinging  to  the  outside.  They 
were  to  us  a  great  delicacy. 

In  the  afternoon  Worsley  and  Jeffrey,  with  the 
assistance  of  Dell  and  Ross,  carried  out  a  series  of 
soundings  from  the  boat  with  a  view  to  charting  accur- 
ately the  anchorage.  Later  they  went  ashore  and 
measured  the  height  of  Archway  Rock. 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      275 

I  sent  in  the  boat  to  be  put  ashore  three  of  the  geese 
which  we  had  brought  from  Tristan  da  Cunha.  As  the 
boat  neared  the  beach  they  did  not  wait  to  be  lifted  out, 
but  jumped  over  the  gunwale  into  the  water.  They  swam 
round  the  Archway  Rock  and  made  a  landing  at  the 
foot  of  the  small  glen  which  opens  to  the  sea  there. 
We  did  not  see  them  again,  but  I  was  in  hopes  that 
they  would  settle  and  breed. 

Jeffrey,  who  is  a  keen  observer  and  takes  a  close 
interest  in  things  generally,  discovered  a  very  pretty 
maidenhair  fern,  a  number  of  which  he  assiduously  set 
about  collecting  with  roots  complete  for  taking  home. 
On  returning  to  the  ship  he  placed  them  carefully  in 
a  large  pot.  Having  inadvertently  left  this  on  deck, 
he  returned  to  find  that  Bridget  had  discovered  them 
and  with  much  appreciation  had  eaten  the  lot. 

Before  returning  the  party  picked  up  Macklin  and 
brought  him  off.  He  had  followed  the  main  glen  to 
where  it  divided  into  two,  taken  the  one  to  the  right 
till  he  reached  the  grass-covered  higher  slopes  of  the 
island,  made  a  traverse  to  the  base  of  the  "  Apostle  " 
and  returned  by  the  other  glen.  The  following  descrip- 
tion is  from  his  diary  : 

After  leaving  Commander  Wild  I  set  off  up  the 
glen,  following  as  far  as  possible  the  course  of  the 
stream.  To  appreciate  the  keen  enjoyment  of  a  walk 
like  this  one  must  have  spent  many  weary  months 
knocking  about  at  sea  in  a  small  ship.  The  little 
stream  was  very  beautiful  as  it  wound  down  the  glen 
with  its  deeps  and  shallows  and  little  torrents.  Every 
turn  produced  a  new  and  attractive  picture,  and  the 
setting  behind  with  the  Apostle  standing  out  dominant 

276  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

and  high  was  really  magnificent.  One  had  to  pro- 
ceed carefully,  for  the  stones  and  boulders  were  very 
slippery.  Sometimes  it  became  necessary  to  leave 
the  stream  and  take  to  the  bank,  but  nowhere  was  the 
going  good.  Having  passed  several  waterfalls,  I 
came  to  a  long  straight  stretch  running  between  steep 
sides  covered  over  with  branches  of  island  tree  to  form 
a  long  tunnelled  archway.  I  waded  along  this  to 
encounter  a  high  waterfall  up  the  sides  of  which  there 
was  no  way.  I  was  compelled  to  take  to  the  bank, 
climbing  a  steep  mossy  slope,  and  plunged  in  amongst 
the  trees  and  tree  ferns  which  grow  in  thick  masses 
on  either  side  of  the  glen,  running  upwards  from  the 
edge  of  the  stream  to  a  height  of  about  a  thousand 
feet.  The  going  was  now  very  difficult,  for  the  water- 
falls became  too  numerous  and  steep  for  one  to  con- 
tinue following  the  stream.  I  forced  my  way  with 
difficulty  through  masses  of  fern  and  island  tree  all 
soaking  wet,  much  of  it  rotten  and  thickly  covered 
with  lichen  and  other  forms  of  parasite. 

The  glen  divided  into  two  and  I  chose  the  one 
to  the  right,  working  my  way  laboriously  till  I  reached 
at  last  the  upper  edge  of  thick  vegetation  and  emerged 
on  to  grassy  slopes,  which  were  very  sodden  and 
covered  with  numerous  grasses  and  mosses.  The  air 
blew  pure  and  fresh,  rather  cold,  but  a  welcome 
change  from  the  stuffy  atmosphere  of  the  thicker 
vegetation.  I  was  now  able  to  get  a  look  round. 
The  island  certainly  had  a  curious  formation  with 
its  rugged  rocky  pinnacles  and  ridges.  I  was  at- 
tracted by  the  huge  mass  of  the  Apostle  and  deter- 
mined to  make  for  it.  This  necessitated  descending 
into  the  glen,  crossing  the  stream  and  climbing  again 

Photo:  Dr.  Macklin 


rhoto:  Dr.  Macklin 

The  photograph  shows  the  steepness  of  the  cliffs  on  Cough  Island 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      277 

through  the  thick  belt.  I  chose  wherever  possible 
the  course  of  small  tributaries,  but  these  dropped  very 
steeply  and  had  many  long  thin  waterfalls  which  fell 
over  smooth  rock  covered  with  moss,  which  readily 
came  away  and  afforded  no  hand  or  foothold.  I 
reached  a  ridge  which  rose  in  a  series  of  thin  sharp 
rocky  pinnacles,  and  working  along  this  at  last  reached 
the  grass  land  at  the  foot  of  the  Apostle.  I  made  an 
effort  to  climb  the  mass  from  the  front,  but  was  not 
successful.  The  time  limit  allowed  me  by  Com- 
mander Wild  was  now  up  and  I  had  to  make  my  way 
down  again.  The  geological  party,  Douglas,  Carr 
and  Argles,  who  came  here  later  found  an  easy  way 
up  by  walking  round  to  the  back. 

I  descended  into  the  other  glen  and  attempted  to 
work  down  the  stream,  but  found  myself  in  a  narrow 
gorge  between  high,  smooth  walls  of  rock  and,  coming 
to  the  head  of  a  high  waterfall,  could  find  no  way 
down,  so  that  I  was  compelled  to  go  back  out  of  the 
gorge  and  come  down  through  the  vegetation  on  the 
banks.  This  was  almost  as  hard  work  as  going  up, 
and  long  before  I  reached  the  bottom  the  climb  had 
ceased  to  be  a  pleasure  and  had  become  mere  hard 
work,  increased  by  the  fact  that  I  had  overstayed  my 
time  and  had  to  hurry.  The  fresh  upland  air  was 
changed  again  to  the  hot  stuffiness  of  the  valley,  and 
when  I  arrived  at  the  landing-place  I  was  soaked  to 
the  skin  as  much  with  perspiration  as  with  wet  from 
the  outside.  Anyone  working  through  this  vegetation 
at  this  time  of  year  must  be  prepared  to  get  wetted 
through,  for  everything  is  sodden. 

Through  being  late  I  had  to  wait  some  time  for 
the  boat,  and  cooled  so  rapidly  that  I  was  soon  shiver- 

278  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

ing.  Naisbitt  had  kindled  a  fire  of  driftwood,  and  I 
was  glad  to  sit  in  front  of  this.  He  also  made  me  a 
cup  of  tea  which  helped  to  warm  me  up. 

A  number  of  small  and  very  tame  mice  came  out 
to  regard  me  curiously;  they  must  have  been  intro- 
duced by  the  people  who  built  the  huts.  One  very 
old  one  crept  up  to  the  warmth  of  the  fire — it  had  very 
shaky  limbs  and  moved  slowly  and  carefully — rather 
like  a  doddery  old  man.  I  was  taking  a  great  interest 
in  it  when  Query  came  up  to  me,  and  catching  sight 
of  it  sitting  in  the  fireglow  casually  bit  it,  killed  it  and 
dropped  it.  The  utter  thoughtlessness  and  callous 
cruelty  of  the  act ! — and  all  the  time  he  slowly 
wagged  his  tail,  oozing  with  friendliness  and  good 
nature.  .  .  . 

It  is  probable  that  anyone  visiting  this  island  in 
January  would  find  conditions  much  more  pleasant, 
and  to  a  botanist  especially  it  should  appeal  as  a  fertile 
field  for  research. 

The  early  part  of  the  night  was  fine.  All  round  us 
was  a  beautiful  phosphorescence,  the  sea  being  covered 
with  waves  of  flame.  Anything  thrown  overboard  caused 
ripples  and  splashes  of  liquid  fire  and  the  cable  was  a 
chain  of  living  light,  the  whole  being  accentuated  by  the 
intense  blackness  of  the  night. 

Whilst  passing  along  the  port  alleyway  I  noticed  just 
opposite  the  galley  a  weird  luminous  glow  emanating 
from  two  large  spots  set  closely  together.  They  were 
like  the  eyes  of  a  large  animal  and  produced  momentarily 
a  creepy  feeling.  Closer  examination  revealed  two  cray- 
fish as  the  source  of  this  phenomenon.  The  flesh  of 
these  creatures  is  brightly  luminous,  and  wherever  there 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      279 

are  chinks  in  the  horny  coating  and  where  it  is  thin  the 
light  shines  through. 

Towards  daybreak  of  the  next  morning  the  wind 
increased  and  a  strong  swell  started  running  into  the 
anchorage.  Not  caring  to  take  any  undue  risks  with 
such  an  unpleasant  lee  shore,  I  heaved  anchor  and 
steamed  out  past  South  East  Point,  keeping  close  into 
the  island  to  enable  Worsley  to  carry  out  a  series  of 

The  land  along  the  south  side  of  the  island  slopes 
much  more  gradually  to  the  summit  than  it  does  opposite 
the  Glen  Anchorage,  and  the  vegetation  which  is  the 
greatest  bar  to  climbers  is  much  less  dense.  Getting 
ashore  would  be  less  easy  than  at  the  glen.  There  are 
places  where  in  fine  weather  a  boat  landing  could  be 
effected,  but  the  beaches  are  very  narrow  and  unfit  for 
camping  on.  It  would  be  necessary  also  before  the 
slopes  are  reached  to  surmount  a  short  steep  cliff  up 
which  in  many  places  a  man  unhandicapped  by  gear 
might  with  comparative  ease  find  a  way,  but  where  the 
hauling  up  of  camping  equipment  would  be  more  diffi- 
cult. Soundings  were  carried  on  throughout  the  day, 
and  Worsley  and  Jeffrey  made  a  rough  running  survey 
of  the  coast,  mapping  as  accurately  as  possible  the  most 
salient  points  and  headlands.  The  wind  coming  more 
westerly  we  returned  at  night  to  the  Glen  Anchorage. 

The  next  day  I  intended  putting  Worsley  and 
Macklin  ashore  and  set  off  in  the  boat  with  Mcllroy 
and  Kerr  at  the  oars.  There  was,  however,  a  much 
bigger  surf  than  we  had  encountered  the  previous  day, 
and  a  landing  at  the  beach  was  quite  out  of  the  question. 
I  succeeded  in  putting  the  boat  alongside  the  outer  edge 
of  the  Archway  Rock  on  to  which  they  scrambled.    This 

28o  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

side  is  very  steep  and  they  were  unable  to  reach  the 
top  which  is  overhanging.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  we  dis- 
covered later  that  there  is  a  way  up  by  a  '*  chimney  " 
at  the  point  nearest  the  beach,  but  it  was  so  thickly 
covered  with  tussock  grass  as  to  be  invisible  from  below. 
Up  this  an  active  man  carrying  a  coil  of  rope  would 
have  comparatively  little  difficulty  in  making  his  way, 
and  a  landing  could  be  effected  by  this  route  when  it 
would  be  impossible  at  the  beach. 

Not  willing  to  give  up  the  attempt  I  took  the  boat 
to  the  far  side  of  the  beach  where  a  considerable  swell 
was  running,  but  where  the  surf  was  to  some  extent 
broken  by  a  thick  mass  of  seaweed.  The  swell,  how- 
ever, in  spite  of  the  weed  was  so  high  and  steep  that 
we  narrowly  escaped  being  capsized  and  had  to  abandon 
this  also.  I  therefore  gave  up  the  attempt  for  that  day 
and  rowed  along  the  coast  examining  rocks  and  entering 
numerous  small  caves.  The  water  was  beautifully  clear 
and  the  bottom  easily  visible,  with  growths  of  beautiful 
seaweed  and  all  manner  of  fish  and  crayfish. 

During  the  next  three  days  the  swell  increased,  and 
though  we  tried  each  day  to  land  the  attempt  was 
attended  with  so  much  risk  of  damage  to  the  boat  that 
on  each  occasion  I  gave  up  the  attempt. 

The  beaches  are  composed  of  large  and  irregularly 
placed  boulders,  and  many  rocks  but  little  submerged 
and  often  awash  complicate  the  approach.  Our  surf 
boat  was  very  lightly  built,  and  under  circumstances 
like  this  there  was  a  danger  of  her  bottom  being  stove  in 
against  the  boulders.  There  was  also  a  risk  should  she 
get  across  one  of  the  outlying  rocks  of  being  capsized 
and  swamped  by  the  inrushing  swell.  We  found  that 
the   seas   were   so   steep   that   when   they   had   passed 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      281 

under  our  bottom  the  boat  came  down  heavily  on  the 
water  with  such  a  resounding  smack  that  had  she  struck 
something  hard  she  must  have  immediately  been  stove 
in.  Indeed  our  attempt  at  landing  provided  us  with 
no  little  excitement,  but  I  was  fortunate  in  having  with 
me  amongst  the  crew  a  number  of  cool  and  capable 
oarsmen,  and  we  escaped  damage. 

Another  factor  which  adds  to  the  difficulty  of  landing 
at  Gough  Island  is  the  force  of  the  gusts  which  blow 
down  the  glen.  They  come  in  whirls  so  that  the  boat 
is  blown  violently  first  in  one  direction  and  then  another, 
and  at  this  time  of  year  are  bitingly  cold. 

Examination  of  the  records  of  other  explorers  who 
have  visited  this  island  shows  that  there  has  always  been 
a  difficulty  in  landing. 

The  time  spent  lying  off  an  island  in  an  exposed 
anchorage  is  a  trying  one  for  all  concerned,  especially 
for  those  on  whom  lies  the  responsibility  of  action.  One 
has  to  be  continually  on  the  watch  for  signs  of  change 
of  winds.  At  this  time  there  was  no  moon  and  it  was 
difficult  to  fix  the  position  of  the  ship  by  objects  on  shore. 
The  fierceness  of  the  squalls  and  their  continually 
changing  direction  with  consequent  swing  of  the  ship 
created  a  danger  of  dragging  the  anchor.  By  bringing 
the  ship  closer  into  the  shore  we  escaped  some  of  the 
effects  of  wind  and  swell,  but  there  was  less  room  in 
which  to  manoeuvre  in  case  of  accident.  We  had  always 
to  keep  the  sounding-lead  going,  and  I  gave  orders  to 
Kerr  that  he  was  to  maintain  the  fires  so  that  at  fifteen 
minutes'  notice  there  could  be  a  full  pressure  of  steam 
in  the  boilers. 

I  began  to  feel  uneasy  about  the  party  on  shore,  for 
unless  we  were  very  fortunate  we  might  have  to  wait 

282  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

many  days  before  we  could  take  them  off.  At  any  time 
we  might  be  driven  by  stress  of  weather  away  from  the 
island,  and  in  a  ship  of  such  low  engine-power  as  the 
Quest  getting  back  might  be  a  matter  of  difficulty.  I 
had  also  to  consider  the  question  of  coal  expenditure. 
I  determined,  therefore,  to  seize  the  first  opportunity  of 
picking  them  up. 

During  the  night  we  had  vicious  hailstorms,  and 
the  squalls  which  blew  off  shore  out  of  the  mouth  of  the 
glen  increased  in  violence. 

In  the  morning,  with  Mcllroy,  Macklin  and  Kerr, 
I  took  the  boat  in  to  the  beach,  and  using  a  stern  anchor 
was  able  to  effect  a  landing  close  to  the  Archway  Rock. 
I  shouted  to  Wilkins  to  get  together  his  party  and 
equipment  and  come  aboard.  Unfortunately  Douglas, 
Carr  and  Argles  had  gone  out  the  previous  day  and  had 
camped  for  the  night  farther  up  the  hill,  and  Wilkins  did 
not  expect  them  back  till  late.  I  therefore  took  off 
Naisbitt  and  him,  with  as  much  equipment  as  was  not 
necessary  for  the  night.  I  left  Marr  behind  with  a 
message  that  all  were  to  be  ready  to  come  off  as  soon 
as  possible.  Getting  the  gear  aboard  was  a  ticklish 
matter,  for  seas  came  heavily  over  the  stern,  and  fierce 
squalls  with  hail  blowing  in  our  faces  from  the  hills 
helped  to  make  things  more  unpleasant.  Macklin  and 
Kerr  leapt  into  the  sea  to  assist  with  the  loading,  and  no 
one  escaped  a  good  soaking.  We  got  off  without  mishap, 
however,  and  returned  to  the  ship.  During  the  night 
the  gusts  at  the  mouth  of  the  glen  had  been  so  violent 
that  the  tent  was  blown  in  and  the  party  compelled  to 
move  to  the  hut.  Wilkins  writes  :  "  During  a  violent 
squall  of  hail  and  sleet  our  tent  was  literally  blown  from 
the  ropes,  leaving  us  exposed  beneath  the  skeleton  of 

Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      283 

ridge  pole  and  guys.  The  wind,  although  not  blowing 
a  continuous  hurricane,  sweeps  down  the  gullies  and  over 
the  cliffs  in  terrific  gusts  at  the  rate  of  more  than  a  hun- 
dred miles  an  hour."  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  party, 
none  of  whom  apparently  were  accustomed  to  tent  life 
under  these  conditions,  were  asking  for  trouble,  for  they 
had  pitched  the  tent  broadside  to  the  gusts  and  had  left 
guys  and  skirting  very  slack.  It  is  important  in  high 
winds  to  cut  out  all  shake  and  flutter  or  the  canvas  will 
eventually  tear  itself  to  ribbons. 

I  had  a  good  look  round  for  any  signs  of  the  geese 
which  we  put  ashore,  but  saw  nothing  of  them.  They 
should  have  no  difficulty  in  finding  ample  food. 

In  the  afternoon  Worsley,  with  Macklin,  Dell  and 
Watts,  took  the  boat  to  look  at  a  cave  farther  along  the 
coast.  On  entering  they  found  that  it  had  a  large  shaft 
open  to  the  sky  down  which  a  cascade  of  water  was 
pouring.  Worsley  carried  out  some  more  soundings 
with  the  hand-lead,  taking  a  line  across  the  mouth  of 
the  bay. 

Next  morning  the  upper  slopes  of  the  island  were 
covered  in  white,  the  result  of  the  hailstorms. 

I  saw  that  landing  would  be  no  easy  matter,  but 
determined  to  make  an  attempt  to  take  off  the  rest  of 
the  shore  party.  I  attempted  the  beach  landing,  but 
had  to  give  it  up.  I  therefore  told  the  party  to  carry 
their  equipment  to  the  top  of  Archway  Rock,  taking 
with  them  a  rope  to  lower  themselves  to  the  rocks  at 
the  bottom,  from  which  it  would  be  possible  to  pick 
them  off.  Rain  and  hail  squalls  blew  all  the  time  and 
waiting  in  the  boat  was  very  unpleasant.  They  had  a 
difficult  job  but  succeeded  in  massing  the  gear  at  the 
top.     Carr  descended,  having  secured  the  rope  to  an 

284  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

island  tree.  He  discovered  the  chimney  which  had  been 
invisible  from  below.  It  is  situated  on  the  bay  side  of 
the  rock  close  to  the  corner  nearest  the  beach.  Twice 
Marr  nearly  stepped  over  the  overhanging  edge,  but  was 
warned  in  the  nick  of  time  by  our  shouts.  Query,  who 
accompanied  the  shore  party,  was  lowered  in  a  sack. 
Ultimately  we  got  the  whole  party  safely  off  and 
returned  in  violent  squalls  to  the  ship. 

We  left  the  Glen  Anchorage  and  proceeded  in  a 
north-westerly  direction  to  a  sheltered  spot  close  to  the 
high  rounded  column  of  "  Lot's  Wife,"  certainly  well 
named  for  it  forms  an  unmistakable  mark.  We  anchored 
opposite  a  waterfall  in  eight  and  a  half  fathoms,  and 
Worsley,  Macklin,  Wilkins  and  Douglas  went  ashore. 
At  this  point  there  is  a  narrow  beach  with  a  small  piece 
of  flat  land  behind  it  from  which  the  island  rises  steeply 
to  a  summit  crowned  with  a  mass  of  rock.  Between  the 
waterfall  and  the  point  there  is  a  large  penguin  rookery, 
deserted  at  this  time  of  the  year  except  for  a  few  rock- 
hoppers,  whose  lives  were  claimed  on  scientific  grounds. 
Wilkins  added  a  number  of  specimens  to  his  collection, 
and  Macklin  caught  a  landrail  alive,  which  was  found 
to  be  blind  of  one  eye,  this  no  doubt  being  the  reason 
why  he  was  able  to  stalk  it.  He  materialistically  de- 
signed it  for  the  pot,  but  as  it  was  a  perfect  specimen 
Wilkins  asked  if  he  might  have  it  for  his  collection. 

We  lay  at  anchor  for  the  night,  and  at  daybreak  next 
morning,  June  3rd,  set  off  for  Cape  Town. 

Wilkins  and  his  party  during  their  stay  on  the  island 
had  accomplished  some  very  good  work.  Assisted  by 
Marr,  who  thoroughly  enjoyed  his  camping  experience, 
he  made  a  large  collection  of  animal  and  plant  life  and 
obtained  a  number  of  photographs.    Unfortunately  the 

Photo:  Dr.   RlackUn 


Diego  Alvarez  or  Gough  Island      285 

light  was  not  good.  Douglas,  Carr  and  Argles  made  a 
rough  survey  of  this  part  of  the  island  and  carried  out 
a  geological  examination  of  the  glen  and  uplands.  They 
reached  the  highest  point,  which  proved  to  be  2,915  feet 
in  height.  To  do  this  they  spent  a  night  in  the  open 
covered  only  by  a  floor  cloth.  It  was  bitterly  cold  but 
the  vegetation  was  far  too  damp  to  enable  them  to  start 
a  fire. 

Douglas,  though  not  a  botanist,  made  a  very  interest- 
ing observation.  In  the  "  Little  Glen,"  just  to  the  south 
of  Archway  Rock,  he  discovered  a  grove  of  trees  which 
he  describes  as  "  growing  as  if  planted  in  an  orchard," 
attaining  a  height  of  thirteen  or  fourteen  feet,  and 
covering  ground  of  about  twelve  feet  diameter.  It 
differs  in  many  respects  from  the  island  tree,  and 
Wilkins  considers  it  to  be  a  species  of  sophora  which  is 
found  in  New  Zealand  and  parts  of  South  America.  Its 
features  are  intermediate  in  type  between  those  of  the 
trees  found  in  these  respective  places. 

Naisbitt  took  charge  of  the  camp  and  acted  as  cook, 
which  duties  he  seems  to  have  carried  out  well. 

The  party  left  behind  a  considerable  quantity  of 
preserved  provisions,  which  they  carefully  stored  in  the 
hut,  for  they  had  taken  ashore  a  larger  supply  than  was 
necessary  for  their  own  needs.  I  hope  if  it  is  the  lot 
of  any  to  be  compelled  by  accident  to  sojourn  on  this 
island  that  these  stores  will  add  something  to  their 
comfort,  though  with  all  the  equipment  and  shelter 
left  by  the  mining  party  and  the  abundance  of  natural 
resources  I  would  have  no  fear  for  their  safety. 

As  much  hydrographical  and  survey  work  as  possible 
was  carried  out  on  the  ship.  An  examination  of  anchor- 
ages, one  on  the  north  coast,  one  on  the  south  coast, 

286  Shackleton^s  Last  Voyage 

and  two  on  the  east  coast  showed  that  shelter  might 
be  found  from  northerly,  southerly  or  westerly  winds. 
There  are  no  sheltered  bays,  each  anchorage  being  an 
open  roadstead.  None  of  them  can  be  considered  safe 
for  ships  without  steam,  and  the  latter  should  at  all  times 
be  prepared  to  get  under  way  at  very  short  notice. 
The  Glen  Anchorage  affords  good  holding  ground. 

The  positions  of  Penguin  Island,  the  Glen  Anchor- 
age and  Lot's  Wife  Cove  were  definitely  established. 

A  good  rough  survey  was  made  of  the  eastern  and 
northern  coasts  and  a  rough  running  survey  of  the  rest 
of  the  island.  Soundings  and  examinations  were  made 
for  all  dangers  and  rocks  round  the  coast.  The  height 
of  several  rocks  and  cliffs  on  the  eastern  coast  were 
accurately  determined. 

There  are  no  outlying  dangers  about  Gough  Island. 

Jeffrey  carried  out  tidal  observations  during  our  stay. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  the  work  of  the  scientific 
parties  and  the  observations  taken  on  and  about 
Gough  Island,  when  fully  worked  out,  will  prove  most 



ON  June  3rd  we  set  course  for  Cape  Town,  where 
I  should  be  able  to  get  into  communication  with 
Mr.  Rowett.  We  had  had  a  pretty  hard  and  trying  time, 
but  I  should  have  liked  to  have  one  more  season  in  the 
Enderby  Quadrant.  The  Quest  had  her  faults — ^too 
many — but  yet  I  had  learned  to  love  this  little  ship  for 
all  her  waywardness.  I  had  come  to  believe  that  much 
might  be  accomplished  by  making  Cape  Town  our 
starting  point  and  setting  out  early  in  the  season. 

On  mature  consideration,  however,  I  realized  that  it 
was  inevitable  that  we  must  return  home,  for  I  knew 
that  we  had  almost  reached  the  time  limit  arranged  by 
Sir  Ernest  Shackleton.  There  was  still  much  work  to 
be  done,  for  we  had  to  call  at  St.  Helena,  Ascension 
Island  and  St.  Vincent.  If  time  permitted,  I  intended 
to  include  South  Trinidad  Island  also.  I  was  anxious 
for  Douglas  to  make  a  geological  examination  of  these 
places  so  that  he  might  be  able  to  link  them  up  with  the 
islands  we  had  already  visited. 

After  leaving  Gough  Island  we  had  had  head  winds 
and  seas,  and  consequently  made  little  progress. 

We  slaughtered  Bridget  and  cut  her  up,  Dell  being 
the  murderer.  She  was  very  fat  and  in  excellent  condi- 
tion, and  made  a  welcome  change  of  fare. 

The  wind  fell  off  a  little  on  June  4th  and  5th 
and  came  abaft  the  beam,  enabling  us  to  shut  off  steam 


288  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

and  proceed  under  sail  only.  We  were  now  short  of  coal 
and  had  to  economize  so  that  we  should  have  a  supply 
sufficient  to  take  us  into  port.  The  ship  also  was  very 
light,  as  a  result  not  only  of  the  depleted  bunkers,  but 
also  from  the  lightening  of  the  fore-hold  of  the  mails  and 
stores  which  were  put  ashore  at  Tristan  da  Cunha. 

I  was  now  proceeding  to  enable  Worsley  to  look  for 
a  reef  reported  by  the  whalers  of  South  Georgia  as  seen 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  position  lat.  35°  4'  S.  and 
5°  20'  W.  long.  (350  miles  east  by  north  of  Tristan  da 
Cunha).  Captain  Hansen,  of  the  Orwell,  was  very 
positive  on  the  matter,  stating  that  whilst  proceeding 
from  Cape  Town  to  South  Georgia  he  had  seen  breaking 
water  and  strands  of  kelp  in  this  position.  We  took  a 
series  of  soundings,  which  showed  no  signs  of  shoaling, 
and  the  snapper  revealed  bottom  specimens  of  white 

On  June  6th  we  started  cleaning  up  the  paint-work 
in  an  endeavour  to  make  the  ship  look  moderately 
respectable  for  our  entry  into  Cape  Town,  but  I  am 
afraid  that  as  a  result  of  the  hard  battering  which  she 
received  in  the  South  she  still  had  a  very  weather-beaten 
appearance  in  spite  of  any  efforts  we  made  in  this  way. 
Dell  again  had  some  butchering  to  do.  He  skinned  one 
of  the  Tristan  sheep,  which  proved  to  be  very  scraggy. 

We  spent  the  day  making  a  traversing  cruise,  looking 
for  the  reported  reef,  but  saw  absolutely  no  indications 
of  its  presence  in  this  position.  Three  successive  sound- 
ings showed  not  less  than  1,900  fathoms,  with  the  same 
globigerinous  ooze  bottom  we  had  found  since  leaving 
Gough  Island. 

On  June  7th  we  still  traversed  in  search  of  the  reef. 
We  made  another  attempt  to  obtain  soundings,  but  the 

Note  the  scarring  of  her  timbers 

TJ//;   QUEST  y. 

THE    QUEST   IN    DOCK    AT    GAPE    TOWN 
Showing  her  size  as  compared  with  that  of  a  modern  sailing  ship 

Photo:   W ilk  ins 


Cape  Town  289 

wind  and  sea  increased  so  much  that  it  was  impossible 
to  keep  the  ship  over  the  lead.  Dell,  at  the  Lucas 
machine,  had  a  trying  time,  for  he  was  continually  being 
immersed.  After  580  fathoms  of  wire  had  been  run  out 
I  ordered  him  to  reel  in,  and  we  headed  off  direct  for 
Table  Bay.  The  wind  continued  to  increase  in  force, 
and,  coming  ahead,  blew  up  from  the  south-east  with 
heavy  squalls  of  rain. 

On  the  8th  and  9th  we  had  a  strong  gale  in  which  the 
now  much  lightened  Quest  flung  herself  about  in  the 
most  lively  manner,  and  much  water  came  over  our  rails. 
On  the  9th  the  Quest  excelled  everything  she  had 
ever  done  in  the  way  of  rolling,  and  though  we  were  by 
now  well  accustomed  to  her  little  ways,  it  was  only  with 
the  greatest  difficulty  that  we  could  move  about  the 
decks,  passing  quickly  from  one  support  to  another. 

On  this  day  Query  was  washed  overboard.    He  had 
become  so  confident  and  sure-footed  that  we  had  long 
ceased  to  have  any  fears  on  his  behalf.     Dell  had  just 
finished  skinning  our  second  Tristan  sheep,  and  was  in 
process  of  hanging  it  to  a  stay  on  the  bridge  deck. 
Query,  taking  as  usual  an  active  interest  in  the  pro- 
ceedings, had  followed  him  up.    The  ship  was  struck  by 
a  heavy  sea,  which  caused  her  to  throw  herself  violently 
to  leeward,  and  Query  was  carried  under  the  griping  spar 
of  the  port  life-boat.    Jeffrey,  who  was  on  watch,  imme- 
diately stopped  the  engines  and  attempted  to  wear  ship, 
but  in  these  heavy  seas  any  attempt  at  a  rescue  was 
impossible.    Poor  Query !  he  must  have  wondered  why 
the  usual  helping  hand  was  not  forthcoming,  as  it  had 
so  often  been  on  previous  occasions  to  help  him  out  of 
his  scrapes.    His  loss  caused  a  real  hurt. 

On  the  loth  conditions  were  much  the  same,  with 


290  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

heavy  squalls  at  intervals.  The  wind  hauled  a  point,  and 
at  2  P.M.  we  set  the  foresail  and  stopped  the  engines. 
We  logged  5  knots  as  an  average,  and  6  to  7  during 
the  squalls.  In  the  middle  watch  at  night  I  saw  a  perfect 
lunar  rainbow  stretching  in  a  big  arc  across  our  bows. 

On  the  I  ith  and  12th  the  wind  fell  light  and  we  had 
fine  weather.  I  set  all  hands  to  cleaning  up,  for  this 
work  had  been  suspended  during  the  bad  weather.  We 
could  do  nothing  to  the  outside  of  the  ship,  which  was 
so  scratched  and  scarred  as  to  make  hopeless  any  attempt 
to  improve  it.  We  managed,  however,  to  brighten  up  the 
wardroom  and  cabins  a  little.  "  Old  Mac  "  scraped  the 
foremast — a  difficult  job  on  account  of  the  heavy  rolling 
— but  it  greatly  improved  our  appearance.  This  fine  old 
seaman  is  a  product  of  the  old-time  sailing  ships,  a  real 
sailor  of  a  type  only  too  rare  to-day.  He  has  made  three 
voyages  to  the  Antarctic. 

The  rest  of  this  portion  of  the  trip  was  uneventful 
till,  on  the  17th,  we  sighted  on  the  horizon  the  Cape  of 
Good  Hope  and  saw  Table  Mountain  appear  from 
behind  the  clouds.  We  entered  Table  Bay  early  in  the 
morning  of  Sunday,  June  i8th. 

At  Cape  Town  we  were  met  by  our  agents  and  Mr. 
Cook,  who  was  acting  as  Mr.  Rowett's  representative. 
They  brought  us  a  big  mail.  It  was  interesting  to  see  the 
members  crowd  round  till  they  had  received  their  letters, 
when  each  man  sought  out  a  quiet  corner  to  which  he 
might  retire  and  read  them  undisturbed  by  anyone. 

After  the  usual  formalities  had  been  gone  through, 
we  were  piloted  to  a  snug  berth  in  the  Alfred  Dock.  It 
was  not  until  I  had  seen  the  comments  in  the  Cape  Town 
Press  that  I  realized  how  much  battered  our  little  ship 
had  been  in  her  arduous  struggle  with  the  heavy  seas  and 

Cape  Town  291 

ice.  One  paper  spoke  of  her  as  "  small,  unpretentious, 
but  grizzly  looking,  and  bearing  signs  where  the  ice 
had  scored  furrows  in  her  planks."  Another  described 
her  as  "  a  black,  stubby  little  boat,  steaming  into  Cape 
Town  unknown,  unannounced  .  .  .  the  leaden  skies,  the 
cold  green  waters  of  the  harbour,  the  sullen  murkiness 
of  the  distant  sea,  the  little  furtive  showers  of  rain,  all 
seemed  to  claim  the  little  ship  as  part  of  themselves, 
catch  her  up  and  absorb  her  into  them  as  an  essential 
part  of  the  picture.  .  .  ." 

All  were  amazed  at  her  size,  and  few  believed  that  so 
small  a  craft  could  have  accomplished  so  much  and 
covered  so  great  a  distance.  We  had  the  warmest  of 
welcomes  from  the  people  of  South  Africa,  and  during 
our  stay  were  so  lavishly  entertained  by  these  hospitable 
folk  that  each  one  of  us  must  carry  for  ever  a  warm  spot 
in  his  heart  for  Cape  Town  and  its  inhabitants. 

We  were  received  by  the  Prime  Minister  (General 
Smuts)  and  entertained  by  him  and  his  wife  at  their 
beautiful  house  at  Groote  Schur. 

The  ship  was  visited  by  many  of  the  prominent 
people  of  South  Africa,  including  members  of  the  House 
of  Parliament,  which  was  then  in  session.  All  of  them 
took  a  very  keen  interest  in  the  regions  we  had  visited, 
especially  in  Tristan  da  Cunha,  the  islands  about  it,  and 
Gough  Island.  Much  sympathy  was  expressed  at  the 
state  of  destitution  in  which  we  had  found  the  people  of 
Tristan  da  Cunha,  and  the  Ca-pe  Argus,  an  enterprising 
and  yery  efficiently  staffed  daily  paper,  immediately 
started  making  arrangements  for  a  relief  ship  to  visit 
them,  and  asked  our  advice  as  to  the  most  suitable  type 
of  vessel  for  the  work.  It  was  hoped  that  she  would  be 
able  to  sail  about  the  beginning  of  January,  that  being 

292  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

the  most  suitable  time  of  year  for  effecting  a  landing  on 
the  island. 

The  Enderby  Quadrant  of  the  Antarctic  is  also  of 
special  interest  to  South  Africans  because  the  climatic 
conditions  there  have  a  large  bearing  upon  the  weather 
of  Cape  Colony.  The  Meteorological  Office  of  South 
Africa  was  anxious  for  a  preliminary  report  of  our 
meteorological  work,  which  Mcllroy  gave  them. 

I  gave  Douglas  permission  to  spend  his  time  in 
Johannesburg,  for  as  a  geologist  he  was  very  anxious  to 
visit  the  mining  areas.    He  was  accompanied  by  Wilkins. 

Invitations  poured  in  for  the  various  members  to  visit 
the  different  parts  of  the  country  about  Cape  Town,  but 
though  I  much  regretted  having  to  decline  them,  I  was 
unable  to  give  any  further  leave,  as  the  different 
members  were  required  for  work  about  the  ship. 

As  is  common  on  the  occasion  of  the  return  of  an 
expedition  from  the  Antarctic,  most  of  the  party  were 
attacked  by  "  colds  in  the  head."  Influenza  was  preva- 
lent in  the  town  and  found  two  ready  victims,  first  in 
Macklin,  who  contracted  it  soon  after  our  arrival,  and, 
later,  myself. 

Much  repair  work  and  general  overhauling  was 
necessary  on  the  Quest.  I  had  it  put  in  hand  at  once. 
The  engines,  which  under  the  careful  nursing  of  Kerr, 
Smith  and  their  staff  had  withstood  the  hard  conditions 
remarkably  well,  now  required  an  overhaul  before  we 
could  again  put  to  sea.  The  rigging  was  reset  up  and  all 
necessary  repairs  completed.  The  ship  received  a  new 
coating  of  paint,  which  completely  transformed  her 
battered  appearance  and  made  her  once  more  a  smart- 
looking  little  vessel.  Fresh  stores  were  taken  aboard, 
and,  the  work  completed,  we  left  next  day  for  the  naval 

Cape  Town  293 

dockyard  at  Simonstown.  Several  of  our  friends  made 
the  trip  with  us,  including  a  number  of  Boy  Scouts  who 
had  been  assisting  aboard  the  ship,  but  the  Quest,  revert- 
ing quickly  to  her  old  antics,  made  them  wish  they  had 
stayed  ashore. 

We  were  most  kindly  received  by  Admiral  Sir 
William  Goodenough,  who  gave  us  a  snug  berth  in  the 
harbour.  I  am  much  indebted  to  him  for  his  kindness 
during  the  time  we  remained  in  Simonstown.  Here  again 
we  received  every  kindness  from  the  officers  of  the  ships 
attached  to  this  base,  especially  those  of  H.M.S.  Lowes- 
toft and  Dublin,  who  welcomed  us  with  the  proverbial 
open-handedness  of  the  Navy. 

On  July  13th,  the  day  of  our  departure,  we  had  the 
honour  of  a  visit  from  the  Governor-General,  H.R.H. 
Prince  Arthur  of  Connaught,  who,  accompanied  by 
Admiral  Sir  William  Goodenough,  made  an  inspection 
of  the  ship  and  took  a  keen  interest  in  everything  he  saw. 

My  attack  of  influenza  had  been  a  very  severe  one 
and  left  me  feeling  very  weak.  I  was  fortunate  in 
making  an  uncomplicated  recovery.  My  best  thanks  are 
due  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  John  Jeffrey,  old  friends  with  whom 
I  stayed  during  my  illness  and  whose  many  kindnesses 
I  shall  not  easily  forget. 

In  order  not  to  delay  the  sailing  of  the  Quest,  I  re- 
joined her  earlier,  perhaps,  than  was  advisable,  and  on 
arrival  at  the  dockyard  felt  so  exhausted  that  I  was  com- 
pelled to  take  to  my  bunk  at  once. 

Before  finally  leaving  we  swung  the  ship  to  adjust 
compasses.  This  was  again  done  for  us  by  Commander 
Traill-Smith,  R.N.,  who  had  so  kindly  performed  this 
office  on  our  leaving  Plymouth,  and  who  had  since  our 
departure  been  transferred  to  this  base. 



FOR  the  first  few  days  at  sea  after  leaving  Cape 
Town  I  was  obliged  to  keep  my  bunk,  but  the 
care  of  the  doctors,  the  solicitous  attentions  of  Green, 
who  went  to  all  sorts  of  length  to  produce  delicacies  for 
me,  and  the  good  salt  air  worked  wonders,  and  I  began 
to  regain  strength  and  was  soon  up  and  about. 

As  I  was  in  bed  the  following  is  quoted  verbatim 
from  Macklin's  diary  : 

July  i^th. 

A  lovely  sunny  day  with  smooth  sea,  and  the  Quest 
behaving  better  than  she  has  ever  done  before.  Surely 
this  is  a  prelude  to  something  wicked — I  do  not  trust 
the  Quest  when  she  is  good. 

Worsley  took  the  ship  close  in  to  Sea  Point  to 
enable  us  to  signal  good-bye  to  our  many  friends 
there,  after  which  we  put  out  to  the  open  ocean.  We 
passed  close  to  a  small  fishing  boat  and  called  her 
alongside  to  enable  one  of  our  members  to  pass 
over  a  letter  for  his  latest  best  girl.  A  sailor,  of 
course !  with  a  girl  in  every  port,  but  I  omit  his 
name.  I  took  the  opportunity  of  buying  some  fresh 
fish,  for  which  I  exchanged  some  tobacco  and  ship's 

It  was  a  lovely  afternoon,  and  all  about  the  ship 
were  numbers  of  seabirds — gulls,  albatross  and  shags. 


St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  295 

In  the  water  were  penguins  (a  type  not  found  in  the 
Antarctic),  seals,  turtles  and  sharks.  This  part  of  the 
ocean  must  simply  teem  with  life  to  support  all  these 
large  animals. 

About  5  P.M.  a  big  Castle  liner  passed  us  homeward 
bound,  and  Wuzzles  changed  course  to  enable  us  to 
give  a  shout  to  Cookie,  who  was  aboard.  The  skipper, 
however,  must  have  been  watching  through  his  glasses, 
and,  seeing  what  a  crowd  of  toughs  we  were  (Wuzzles 
prominent  on  the  bridge),  sheered  widely  off  and 
passed  us  too  far  away  to  distinguish  individuals. 

Commander  Wild  is  very  limp.  He  had  a  very 
bad  attack  of  "  flu."  He's  a  hard  case,  and  it  takes  a 
lot  to  upset  him.  A  few  of  Green's  egg-flips  and  the 
salt  air  will  soon  set  him  on  his  feet  again. 

Sunday,  July  i6th. 

Yesterday  was  a  fine  day,  most  of  which  I  spent 
below  hatches  making,  with  Marr's  assistance,  a  final 
stowage  and  getting  things  ready  for  sea. 

To-day  has  been  perfectly  lovely.  Had  the 
4.0-8.0  A.M.  watch,  and  Dell,  Mick  and  I  had  just 
scrubbed  down  decks,  and  made  a  jolly  good  job  of  it 
too,  when  the  stokers  started  cleaning  pipes  and 
simply  covered  the  whole  ship  with  soot  and  ashes. 
We  blessed  them  fervently  for  this  good  beginning  to 
a  Sabbath  Day,  the  rest  of  which  we  spent  trying  to 
get  our  cabins  and  living  quarters  clear  of  the  mess 
they  had  made. 

Commander  Wild  is  much  better,  though  he  is  not 
yet  all  right,  as  he  seems  to  think.  I  allowed  him  up 
to  sit  in  the  sun  for  a  little  while. 

The  Windsor  Castle  passed  and  signalled  us  "  A 

296  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

pleasant  yoyage."     We   dipped  ensigns.     There  is 
something  rather  nice  about  these  sea  courtesies. 

Bosson,  Green's  new  mate,  entrusted  with  a  carv- 
ing knife,  succeeded  in  nearly  severing  one  finger. 

July  i()th. 

Weather  has  continued  fine,  with  fair,  following 
winds.  Commander  Wild  improving  steadily  and  eat- 
ing better  than  I  have  ever  known  him  to  do.  He  has 
a  good  deal  to  make  up,  for  he  lost  a  great  deal  of 
weight  in  Cape  Town. 

Yesterday  I  stowed  some  cases  for  Jeff  and  bound 
them  with  pyrometa  wire.  To-day  Jeff  and  Dell  re- 
moved the  wardroom  stove,  which  we  shall  no  longer 
need,  thank  goodness,  for  with  the  down  draught  from 
squaresail  and  topsail  the  smoke  nearly  always  went 
the  wrong  way. 

July  20th. 

Engines  stopped,  and  we  lay  to  for  a  bottom 
dredging.  We  wound  in  the  line  by  hand.  Good  old 
man-power ! — we  always  come  down  to  it  in  the  end. 
The  whole  job  took  about  eight  hours;  it  is  good 
exercise,  but  towards  the  end  becomes  a  bit  of  a  toil. 
Whilst  stopped  we  were  surrounded  by  albatross, 
and  Green  and  Watts  succeeded  in  catching  some 
alive.  Good-looking  birds  were  passed  to  Wilkins, 
the  poorer  specimens  were  set  free  (this  is  subject  for 
a  moral). 

The  next  few  days  were  uneventful.  I  had  by  now 
quite  got  over  my  illness  and  begun  to  go  about  as  usual. 

On  July  27th  we  arrived  at  St.  Helena,  which  was  of 
interest  to  me  because  in  my  first  voyage  as  a  boy  in  an 

St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  297 

old  sailing  ship  we  had  called  here  and  I  had  not  been 
back  since. 

This  island  has  a  most  interesting  history.  It  was 
first  discovered  in  1592  by  Juan  de  Nova  Castilla,  one 
of  the  enterprising  Portuguese  navigators  of  those  days, 
who  claimed  it  for  Portugal.  Since  then  it  has  two  or 
three  times  changed  hands.  The  East  India  Company 
used  it  as  a  port  of  call  for  a  long  time,  but  handed  it 
over  to  the  British  Government  in  1833.  Under  the 
company's  administration  the  island  prospered  exceed- 
ingly. The  famous  navigator,  Captain  Cook,  who  visited 
the  island  in  1775,  speaks  of  finding  its  people  "  Hying 
in  delightful  little  homes  amongst  pleasant  surround- 
ings," and  describes  them  as  the  nicest  people  of  English 
extraction  he  had  ever  met.  The  Government,  on  taking 
over,  seemed  to  have  a  much  less  sympathetic  under- 
standing of  the  island  and  its  people,  for  since  that  time 
its  prosperity  has  steadily  declined.  It  was  used  and  is 
chiefly  known  to  the  world  as  the  prison  of  such  men  as 
Napoleon,  Cronje  and  others. 

From  the  sea  the  island  is  very  unprepossessing, 
rising  steeply  from  the  water's  edge  and  looking  bare, 
hot  and  dry.  Jamestown,  the  port,  lies  in  a  valley  which 
runs  backwards  and  upwards  from  the  sea  in  a  straggling 
and  ever-narrowing  line.  From  the  anchorage  one  gets 
a  refreshing  glimpse  of  green  on  the  inner  slopes.  One 
of  the  first  things  that  catches  the  eye  on  looking  ashore 
is  a  huge  ladder,  nearly  a  thousand  feet  long  and  over 
six  hundred  feet  high,  which  passes  from  Jamestown  to 
the  summit  of  Ladder  Hill.  It  contains  seven  hundred 
steps,  to  the  top  of  which,  in  days  gone  by,  a  postman 
carrying  his  bag  of  letters  used  to  run  without  a  halt. 

Having  passed  through  the  usual  port  formalities,  I 

298  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

got  ready  to  go  ashore.  Whilst  preparing  to  leave,  the 
ship  was  called  up  from  the  "  Observatory,"  and  I 
received  an  invitation  from  H.E.  the  Governor  to  lunch 
at  his  house,  together  with  two  or  three  of  my  officers. 
I  took  Worsley,  Mcllroy  and  Macklin  with  me. 

Jamestown  is  protected  from  the  sea  by  a  wall,  and 
we  entered  through  iron  gates  which  no  doubt  in  the 
days  of  Napoleon  always  had  an  armed  guard.  There 
is  nothing  of  that  sort  to-day,  and,  indeed,  St.  Helena 
is  an  island  that  has  "  seen  better  days."  At  one  time 
a  flourishing  settlement  and  an  important  military  station 
famous  as  the  prison  of  Napoleon,  it  is  now  almost 
forgotten  by  the  rest  of  the  world. 

We  procured  a  carriage,  drawn  by  two  small  but 
sturdy  horses,  and  set  off  for  the  "  Plantations  "  at  the 
summit  of  the  island  where  the  Governor's  house  is 
situated.  The  climb  was  a  stiff  one,  and  to  ease  the 
horses  we  walked  up  most  of  the  way.  At  first  the  road 
was  bare  and  dry,  cut  from  rocks  of  obviously  volcanic 
origin,  the  only  vegetation  an  occasional  dusty  cactus 
growing  here  and  there.  As  we  mounted,  however,  we 
entered  a  greener  area,  with  vegetation  which  increased 
in  luxuriance  till,  at  the  top,  we  saw  that  the  inner  parts 
of  the  island  were  really  very  fertile.  The  air  also  was 
purer  and  more  fresh.  I  was  struck  by  the  appearance 
of  the  "  mina  "  birds,  which  have  a  pretty  dark  brown 
and  white  colouring,  and  at  first  sight  resemble  magpies. 
They  were  introduced  to  the  island  for  the  purpose  of 
killing  insects. 

We  had  a  most  pleasant  lunch  with  H.E.  the 
Governor  (Colonel  Peel)  and  his  wife.  The  house  has  a 
very  fine  outlook  down  a  valley  to  the  sea,  and  is  situated 
in  very  beautiful  grounds  which  contain  a  number  of 

St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  299 

interesting  trees  :  oaks,  Scotch  firs,  spruces  and  Norfolk 
pines,  and  a  tree  with  dark  foliage  and  brilliant  scarlet 
blossom.  Numerous  white  arum-like  lilies  grow  in  pro- 
fusion, and  many  other  flowers,  including  a  beautiful 
small  blue  flower  with  a  pleasant  fresh  scent.  It  was  a 
very  happy  change  from  our  sea  life.  We  were  intro- 
duced to  a  huge  tortoise,  reputed  to  be  two  hundred  years 
old,  which  sometimes  leaves  the  grounds  for  the  road 
and  causes  all  the  horses  which  encounter  it  to  shy. 
When  this  happens  a  cart  is  sent  out  to  fetch  it  home. 
It  takes  six  men  to  lift  it  off  the  road. 

After  lunch  we  paid  a  visit  to  the  tomb  of  Napoleon 
and  the  house  at  Longwood  where  he  lived  whilst  on 
the  island.  The  tomb  is  in  a  deep  hollow,  and  for  so 
great  a  man  is  very  unimposing.  It  is  covered  with  a 
large  marble  slab,  blank,  with  no  inscription  of  any  sort. 
Some  time  after  his  death  his  body  was  exhumed  and 
taken  to  Paris,  when  it  was  laid  finally  in  Les  InvalideSy 
where  a  magnificent  and  more  fitting  tomb  has  been 
erected  to  his  memory.  The  house  at  Longwood  also  is 
unimposing.  One  can  imagine  how  his  restless  spirit 
must  have  chafed  at  its  confinement.  The  rooms  are 
kept  spotlessly  clean,  but  are  bare  except  that  in  the 
small  chamber  where  he  died  there  is  a  bust  set  on  a 
long  pedestal  hung  with  a  few  bedraggled  pieces  of 
tricolour  ribbon.  It  contained  also,  when  we  were  there, 
a  baby's  perambulator,  but  was  otherwise  empty.  The 
sight  of  this  house  caused  me  to  feel  a  great  pity  for  its 

I  learned  from  the  Governor  that  whilst  aliye  he  had 
been  well  treated,  having  had  an  allowance  from  the 
English  Government  of  ^12,000  per  annum. 

The  island  inland  from  the  sea  is  very  hilly  and 

300  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

divided  into  numerous  ridges  and  valleys.  There  is  not 
a  really  good  piece  of  flat  land  anywhere.  The  valleys 
are  very  fertile.  Owing  to  the  steepness  of  the  roads  we 
proceeded  most  of  the  way  on  foot,  leaving  the  paths, 
which  zigzagged,  and  making  straight  traverses  across 
the  fields.  Brambles  grow  profusely,  and  at  this  time  a 
number  of  blackberries  were  ripe.  Gorse  and  broom 
covered  the  hillsides  with  yellow.  The  chief  industry 
of  the  island  seems  to  be  the  growing  of  New  Zealand 
flax  and  the  making  of  it  into  fibre.  During  the  war 
they  obtained  the  most  phenomenal  prices,  which,  how- 
ever, have  since  dropped  to  normal.  The  flora  generally 
of  St.  Helena  is  very  interesting,  for  there  are  over  sixty 
native  species  of  plants,  nearly  all  of  them  peculiar  to 
the  island.  Every  now  and  then  we  caught  glimpses  of 
pretty  little  residences  situated  in  gardens  of  their  own. 
We  met  numerous  people,  including  a  number  of  British 
folk,  driving  in  their  carriages — it  seems  to  be  the  custom 
here  to  greet  everyone  one  meets. 

The  natives  we  met  showed  unmistakable  signs  of  a 
very  mixed  origin.  In  the  days  of  the  East  India  Com- 
pany labour  was  imported  from  India  and  from  China, 
and  on  frequent  occasions  natives  of  different  parts  of 
Africa  have  been  introduced.  The  African  type  pre- 

We  next  visited  the  station  of  the  Eastern  Telegraph 
Company,  where  we  met  the  manager  and  his  wife. 
They  have  a  very  nice  place,  situated  in  beautiful 
grounds  containing  masses  of  bougainvillaea,  geranium, 
scarlet  hibiscus  and  many  other  kinds  of  blossom.  They 
have  bananas  and  guavas  in  abundance,  but  oranges  do 
not  grow  well. 

They  told  me  that  the  natives  of  the  island,  of  which 

St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  301 

there  are  about  3,000,  are  very  badly  off,  for  there  is 
practically  no  work  for  them  to  do.  Some  of  them  look 
half  starved.  A  lace  industry  was  started  about  twenty 
years  ago  by  an  Englishwoman.  The  lace  is  said  to  be 
of  good  quality,  but  I  did  not  have  the  opportunity  of 
seeing  any. 

We  returned  to  the  ship  about  6.30  p.m.,  and  imme- 
diately set  off  for  Ascension  Island. 

In  the  meantime  Douglas  had  made  a  brief  geological 
examination  of  the  main  features  of  the  island.  There 
was  not  time  to  do  more. 

Bosson,  the  new  hand  taken  on  at  Cape  Town,  whom 
I  had  allowed  to  go  for  a  run  ashore,  fell  into  a  cactus 
bush,  and  did  not  forget  the  fact  in  the  next  few  days. 

We  had  an  uninterrupted  run  to  Ascension  Island, 
where  I  intended  to  take  in  coal.  As  we  approached  we 
saw  hundreds  of  birds,  which  flew  squawking  overhead, 
but  were  apparently  intent  on  their  fishing,  and  took 
very  little  notice  of  the  ship.  We  arrived  and  dropped 
anchor  about  8  p.m.  on  August  ist. 

From  the  shore  we  received  a  signal  to  ask  if  we  had 
a  clean  bill  of  health,  and  soon  after  the  officer  com- 
manding the  station  came  off  to  visit  us  in  a  boat  pulled 
by  several  hefty  bluejackets.  He  announced  that  at  the 
moment  of  our  arrival  an  interesting  and  unusual  event 
had  taken  place  :  the  birth  of  a  child.  I  learned  from 
him  that  I  could  get  what  coal  I  required  to  take  me  on 
to  St.  Vincent. 

August  2nd  was  a  rather  muggy  day.  The  ship  was 
surrounded  by  thousands  of  fish  of  a  dark  purple  colour 
with  white  patches  on  their  tails.  They  rushed  at  any- 
thing edible  that  was  thrown  overboard,  and  the  water 
was  lashed  into  foam  by  their  efforts  to  get  at  it.    It  was 

302  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

really  a  wonderful  sight.  They  could  not  be  induced  to 
take  a  hook  and  fought  very  shy  of  anything  with  a  line 
on  it.  Green,  the  enthusiast,  tried  all  morning  to  catch 
some,  but  without  success.  He  succeeded,  however, 
by  putting  out  more  line,  in  catching  a  red  spiny  variety 
at  a  deeper  level.    He  also  caught  a  shark. 

I  sent  ashore  the  scientists,  and  later  went  myself 
with  Mcllroy  and  Macklin.  On  landing,  Macklin  saw 
an  officer  of  marines  to  whom  he  said  :  '*  Your  face  is 
familiar  to  me.  Where  have  I  seen  you  before  ? " 
Apparently  they  had  met  somewhere  in  Russia.  It  was 
rather  extraordinary  meeting  again  in  this  out-of-the-way 
little  spot  in  tropical  mid-Atlantic.  We  went  on  to  the 
"  Club,"  where  we  met  several  more  officers  of  the  station 
and  a  number  of  the  Eastern  Telegraph  Company's 

The  island  is  bare,  sandy  and  desolate  looking.  The 
barracks  and  officers'  quarters  are  at  sea  level.  The 
latter  consist  of  neat  little  bungalows,  about  which  some 
pretty  blossom  has  been  induced  to  grow. 

The  troops  and  naval  ratings  wear  solar  topees, 
khaki  shorts  and  shoes.  Usually  they  have  no  stockings. 
The  soldiers  have  khaki  shirts,  and  the  ratings  white 
jumpers.  There  are  a  number  of  women  on  the  island. 
They  wear  light  cotton  dresses  and  often  have  no  stock- 
ings— a  sane  and  healthy  fashion  for  this  part  of  the 

After  lunch  Macklin  went  off  to  see  one  of  the  sights 
of  the  island — the  nesting-ground  of  the  "  Wideawakes." 
He  writes  : 

After    leaving    Commander    Wild   and    Mick,    I 
walked  out  to  "  Wideawake  Valley,"  so  called  because 

St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  303 

of  the  number  of  birds  which  nest  there.  It  is  an 
extraordinary  sight.  There  are  millions  of  them, 
covering  the  ground  for  acres.  They  lay  a  single  egg, 
about  the  size  of  a  bantam's  and  spotted.  Many  of 
the  chicks  had  hatched  out.  If  one  goes  too  near  they 
rush  frantically  about  and  lose  their  parents,  and  if 
they  intrude  too  much  on  their  neighbours  sometimes 
get  pecked  to  death.  Many  of  the  birds  rise  up  and 
come  flying,  with  raucous  din,  all  about  one's  head. 
The  noise  is  maddening.  Having  seen  what  I  wanted 
to  see,  I  was  glad  to  get  away.  I  left  the  track  I  had 
come  by  and  returned  across  country.  The  going  off 
the  tracks  is  very  bad  indeed,  the  surface  of  the  island 
being  much  broken  and  covered  with  a  short  dry  grass 
amongst  which  were  numerous  stones  and  boulders, 
which  tired  one's  feet  very  much.  The  heat,  too,  was 
considerable,  and  I  was  glad  when  I  reached  the  club 
and  obtained  a  long,  cool  drink,  which  was  very 
comforting  to  my  parched  throat. 

During  the  afternoon  the  Durham  Castle  came 
in.  This  is  a  bi-monthly  event,  and  throws  the 
whole  island  into  a  fluster.  I  took  Worsley,  Mcllroy 
and  Macklin  aboard,  when  we  met  the  captain  and 
the  ship's  doctor.  I  dined  in  the  evening  with  the 

On  August  3rd  preparations  were  started  for  the 
coaling.  The  coal  is  of  the  poorest  quality,  consisting 
of  dust  and  slag,  and  the  price  we  were  charged  was 
exorbitant,  but  I  was  obliged  to  the  commandant  for 
being  at  pains  to  give  us  the  best  he  could  under  the 

Scientific  work  was  continued,  and  Macklin  and  Kerr 

304  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

went  off  in  the  boat  to  another  part  of  the  island  to  obtain 
some  different  varieties  of  fish. 

In  the  evening  we  dined  at  the  mess  of  the  Eastern 
Telegraph  Company,  where  we  had  a  very  merry  even- 
ing. Most  of  us  slept  ashore,  being  kindly  put  up  by 
members  of  the  telegraph  company.  Douglas  and  Marr, 
who  had  ascended  to  the  high  part  of  the  island,  were 
very  kindly  accommodated  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Cronk  at 
their  pretty  house  on  the  hill. 

Coaling  was  continued  on  the  4th.  The  coal  is  put 
into  bags  at  the  dump  and  loaded  into  lighters,  which 
are  taken  off  by  a  tug  and  laid  alongside  the  ship.  The 
work  is  often  awkward  on  account  of  the  swell.  It  was 
a  messy  business,  and  the  ship  soon  became  covered  in 
every  part  of  her  with  dust.  It  took  us  many  days  to  get 
really  clean  again.  In  order  to  keep  an  eye  on  things, 
I  stayed  near  the  scene  of  operations.  Macklin  ascended 
to  the  summit,  and  the  following  account  from  his  diary 
is  fairly  descriptive  of  the  island  : 

I  went  ashore  early  with  Wilkins,  who  had  with 
him  his  camera  and  cinematograph  machine.  He  was 
going  off  with  the  commandant  in  a  pinnace  to  an 
island  where  there  was  a  large  number  of  birds. 

I  first  of  all  walked  about  the  station  and  took  a 
number  of  snapshots,  after  which  I  set  off  up  the  dusty 
track  leading  to  Green  Hill.  It  was  a  blazing  hot  day, 
and  I  wore  nothing  but  singlet,  shorts  and  shoes,  and 
had  a  good  sun  hat.  This  garb  was  cool  and  gave  a 
delightful  sense  of  freedom  in  movement,  but  it 
proved,  to  my  cost,  to  be  an  inadequate  protection 
from  the  sun. 

I  passed  en  route  the  wireless  station,  which  has 

Photo:  Dr.    Mncklin 






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'  ^A  / 

^-^'      y^ 


Ki^'';- . 




PJwto:  IVilkins 

>  > 



St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  305 

been  abandoned.  Its  six  immense  poles  are  cemented 
and  stayed  in  such  a  manner  as  to  make  the  removal  of 
them  not  worth  the  labour.  The  track  led  up  a  gentle 
slope  over  sandy  ground  that  supported  a  few  low- 
lying  shrubs  but  very  little  else.  Farther  towards  the 
summit  the  vegetation  increased  a  little,  with  cactus 
plants  and  a  few  aloes.  Still  farther  up  an  attempt 
had  been  made  to  plant  trees  along  the  sides  of  the 
track,  and,  considering  the  dry,  hard  nature  of  the 
earth,  they  were  growing  not  badly,  but  gave  little 
impression  of  greenery.  I  continued  along  the  main 
track  till  I  reached  eventually  a  point  marked  by  the 
two  halves  of  a  boat  which  had  been  set  up  on 
either  side* of  the  road.  The  gentle  slope  was  now 
replaced  by  a  more  steeply  rising  mountain  face,  up 
which  the  main  track  zigzagged  so  much  as  to  make 
the  total  distance  a  very  long  one.  I  accordingly  left 
it  for  a  steeper  but  straighter  track.  The  air  was  now 
fresher,  and  the  higher  one  climbed  the  more  abund- 
ant became  the  vegetation,  which  included  trees — 
palms,  pines,  firs,  eucalyptus — and  a  tree  with  bright 
yellow  flowers  which  I  did  not  recognize.  There  were 
ferns  of  several  sorts,  small  flowering  shrubs,  thistles 
with  a  yellow  flower,  and,  higher  up  the  mountain,  a 
species  of  scarlet  hibiscus. 

Grasshoppers  were  numerous.  They  hopped  off 
the  ground  in  much  the  same  manner  as  an  English 
grasshopper,  but  were  capable  of  a  certain  power  of 
flight.  I  saw  also  a  number  of  beetles,  rats  and  land- 
crabs,  but  animal  life  generally  is  scarce. 

Near  the  top  of  Green  Mountain  there  are  a  few 
little  residences  situated  in  very  pretty  gardens. 
Indeed,  the  whole  of  the  island  above  a  certain  level 

3o6  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

is  very  beautiful  and  a  paradise  as  compared  with 
the  hot,  dusty  garrison  at  the  base. 

Near  the  summit  I  came  to  a  house  surrounded  by 
a  picturesque  garden  containing  many  trees  and 
shrubs  with  bright  blossom.  I  learned  that  it  belonged 
to  the  "  Farm  Superintendent."  At  this  point  a 
corporal  of  marines  approached  me,  and  remarking 
that  I  looked  hot,  asked  me  if  I  would  like  a  glass  of 
beer.  I  was  hot,  and  the  suggestion  was  too  alluring 
to  be  refused,  though  I  had  doubts  as  to  the  wisdom 
of  it,  seeing  that  I  had  still  many  miles  of  hot  walking 
ahead  of  me.  There  is  a  small  signal  station  here, 
and  the  corporal  took  me  to  his  quarters,  from  where 
I  had  a  magnificent  view  of  the  slopes  of  the  island 
and  of  the  sea,  covered  with  twinkling  points,  stretch- 
ing like  a  flat  board  to  a  far  distant  horizon.  There  is 
a  small  farm  which  supplied  the  station  with  fresh 
meat,  milk,  etc.  I  had  a  look  at  the  cowhouses,  which 
literally  swarmed  with  rats  of  enormous  size.  There 
are  also  some  hen-runs  and  pig-sties,  and  a  number  of 
sheep  graze  on  the  hills. 

Thanking  the  friendly  corporal,  I  pushed  on  over 
a  grassy  slope  dotted  about  with  trees,  and  finally 
reached  the  summit,  where  there  is  a  thick  plantation 
of  bamboos,  the  stems  of  which  rattled  in  the  strong 
south-east  trades.  In  the  middle  of  it  there  is  a  pond 
of  very  stagnant  water.  The  view  from  the  top  is 
wonderful,  every  part  of  the  island  being  clearly 
visible.  All  about  the  upper  slopes  are  asphalted 
watersheds  leading  to  storage  tanks.  All  the  water 
for  the  garrison  and  the  other  buildings  at  the  base 
of  the  island  comes  from  the  summit,  and  is  conducted 
there  by  pipes. 

St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  307 

Descending  the  farther  slopes,  I  came  to  the 
entrance  to  a  long  narrow  tunnel  cut  through  the  hill. 
It  had  been  dug  by  the  military  detachment  many 
years  before,  quite  for  what  purpose  I  did  not  learn. 
It  is  low,  narrow  and  pitchy  black,  but  there  is  a  hand- 
wire  by  using  which  as  a  guide  one  can  go  steadily 
forward.  It  emerges  in  a  corner  of  the  farm  superin- 
tendent's  garden. 

I  had  lunch  on  the  summit  with  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Cronk.  They  have  two  pretty  children.  Mr.  Cronk 
has  been  farm  superintendent  for  twenty-five  years. 
It  must  be  a  funny  life  in  this  remote  spot.  He  is 
responsible  for  all  the  vegetation,  and  takes  a  great 
pride  in  his  work — certainly  he  has  made  his  mark  on 
the  world.  The  whole  garrison  is  being  removed,  and 
is  due  to  leave  in  a  few  months.  He  goes  too,  and 
regrets  that  no  one  is  being  left  to  carry  on  the  work 
he  has  so  carefully  inaugurated.  He  has  had  to  over- 
come many  difficulties,  and  is  disappointed  that  the 
labour  of  so  many  years  will  be  thrown  away.  The  big 
plants  grow  all  right  and  do  not  require  much  atten- 
tion. The  young  ones  must  be  shaded  from  the  fierce 
sun,  and  unless  this  shade  is  provided  artificially  the 
only  seeds  that  flourish  are  those  which  fall  beside  the 
parent  plant  and  derive  shade  and  a  certain  amount 
of  moisture  from  it.  The  summit  of  the  island,  being 
often  clouded  in  mist,  is  very  damp,  and  those  who 
live  there  for  any  length  of  time  suffer  considerably 
from  rheumatism. 

I  descended  towards  "  Wideawake  "  Plain  again, 
visited  the  circular  crater  of  a  Kolcano,  and  crossed  it 
to  enter  a  belt  of  loose,  broken  pieces  of  cellular 
lava.    The  inside  was  covered  with  sand,  was  bare  of 

3o8  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

vegetation,  and  had  round  it  a  circular  track  which 
gives  it  the  name  of  the  "  Devil's  Horse-ring." 

On  my  way  back  I  passed  again  oyer  a  sandy 
plain,  where  I  saw  a  number  of  small  rabbits.  I 
enjoyed  my  day  immensely  and  was  pleasantly 
fatigued  after  my  climbing.  I  suffered  badly  from 
sunburn,  which  will  probably  get  worse  in  the  next  few 
days.  My  neck  and  legs  are  chiefly  affected.  Marr, 
who  had  spent  the  day  with  Douglas  on  a  geological 
expedition,  was  also  badly  burned,  and  had  a  tempera- 
ture of  103^  F.     I  had  to  put  him  to  bed.  .  .  . 

The  coaling  was  completed  during  the  afternoon. 

We  had  many  visitors  to  see  us  off,  and  left  finally 
at  4.30  P.M.,  setting  course  for  St.  Vincent. 

The  next  part  of  our  journey  proved  uneventful. 
We  crossed  the  equator  to  run  into  hotter  weather,  the 
sun  being  near  its  northern  limit  of  declination.  With 
a  light  following  wind  there  was  no  draught,  and  the 
ship  was  covered  daily  with  dust  and  ashes  from  the  very 
dirty  Ascension  Island  coal.  So  bad  did  it  turn  out  that 
Kerr  and  his  staff  had  the  greatest  difficulty  in  maintain- 
ing a  sufficient  pressure  of  steam,  and  the  work  of  the 
stokers  was  consequently  very  hard.  Young,  Ross  and 
Murray  (a  new  hand  taken  on  at  Cape  Town)  stuck 
splendidly  to  their  work  during  this  uncomfortable  and 
trying  stage  of  the  journey. 

We  obtained  at  Ascension  Island  a  number  of  live 
baby  turtles,  which  I  proposed  to  present  to  the  Marine 
Biological  Laboratory  at  Plymouth.  On  its  staff  are 
two  old  shipmates  of  mine,  Messrs.  Hodson,  of  the 
Discovery,  and  Clark,  of  the  Endurance,  We  placed 
the  turtles  in  one  of  the  waterbutts  on  the  after  deck, 

thoto :  IViikhis 

A    MEW    IN    SAN     MIGUEL    IN    THE    AZORES 

St.  Helena  to  St.  Vincent  309 

where  Wilkins  fed  them  on  small  pieces  of  flying  fish. 
They  spent  the  whole  day  diving  for  pieces  and  fought 
with  each  other  for  possession  of  them.  They  are 
curious  little  creatures. 

One  of  the  men  brought  off  a  small  rabbit,  of  which 
a  few  run  wild  on  Ascension  Island.  It  became  a  great 
pet  and  was  most  extraordinarily  tame. 

We  arrived  at  St.  Vincent  on  August  i8th,  where  we 
completed  our  coaling.  Here,  as  on  our  outward  trip, 
we  received  kindness  from  the  members  of  Messrs. 
Wilson,  Sons  and  Company,  Limited,  and  were  enter- 
tained by  the  Eastern  Telegraph  Company  mess. 

Douglas  and  Wilkins  carried  on  their  investigations. 
Macklin,  Jeffrey  and  Green,  our  fishing  enthusiasts, 
went  off  to  bring  in  a  supply  of  fish,  but  returned  with 
a  small  result,  their  time  having  been  spent  apparently 
in  sailing  the  surf -boat  out  to  Bird  Rock  and  in  bathing. 



WE  left  on  Sunday  (20th),  intending  to  call  at 
Madeira,  but  the  north-east  trades  proving  too 
much  for  the  Quest  I  adopted  the  sailing  ship  route  and 
proceeded  ''  full  and  by  "  in  the  direction  of  the  Azores. 
Conditions  were  now  more  pleasant  than  we  had  had 
them  since  setting  out  from  England  at  the  commence- 
ment of  our  enterprise.  The  weather  became  daily 
cooler  and  the  air  fresher.  The  winds  blew  the  dust  and 
ashes  away  to  leeward,  and  we  were  able  to  have  a 
clean  ship. 

It  was  quite  like  the  old  days,  the  young,  happy  days 
of  those  fine  old  clipper  ships  of  Messrs.  Devitt  and 

Moore  : 

Beating-  up  for  the  western  isles 

Close  hauled  in  the  north-east  trades. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  September  3rd  we  picked  up 
the  Azores,  and  about  5  p.m.  entered  the  harbour  of 
Ponta  del  Gada,  in  San  Miguel.  I  was  anxious  to  give 
the  hull  a  coating  of  paint,  but  as  it  was  Sunday,  and  a 
feast  day,  there  was  no  hope  of  any  work  being  done. 

We  stayed  two  days,  the  only  incident  of  interest 
being  a  visit  to  the  United  States  ship  Wilmington^ 
which  had  put  in  here  with  a  broken  crank  shaft  on  her 
way  home  from  Shanghai.  The  captain  and  some  of  his 
officers,  in  turn,  visited  us. 




Tbe  Course  of  the  Quests  Outwards  and  Inwards 

Our  work  done,  we  set  out,  and  on  a  perfect  evening 
proceeded  along  the  coast  of  the  island,  which  is  very 
picturesque.  The  land  is  terraced,  and  there  is  evidently 
a  considerable  amount  of  intensive  cultivation.  Pretty 
little  villages  nestle  in  its  hollows,  and  windmills  are 
dotted  all  about  the  hills.  The  Quest  proceeded 
smoothly.  The  sea  was  calm,  and  in  the  still  air  of  this 
lovely  summer  evening  one  felt  that  nothing  could  be 
more  perfect  and  that  one  could  go  on  and  on  for  ever. 
We  had  had  so  much  bad  weather  and  our  trip  through- 

312  Shackleton's  Last  Voyage 

out  had  been  so  arduous  that  we  felt  this  respite  all  the 

I  had  hoped  on  leaving  the  Azores  to  run  imme- 
diately into  westerly  winds,  but  for  some  days  we  had 
light  north-easters.  The  wind  finally  came  round  to 
north-west  and  blew  up  strongly  on  our  beam.  The 
ocean  gathered  itself  up  for  one  more  fling  at  us,  but  it 
was  but  a  half-hearted  one;  we  were  homeward  bound, 
and  what  did  we  care?  In  a  few  days  we  should  be  in 
England,  and  though  I  have  experienced  many  goings 
and  comings  since  those  unforgettable  first  ones,  the 
parting  never  seems  to  lose  its  hurt  nor  the  home-coming 

its  thrill. 

God  gave  all  men  all  earth  to  love, 

But  since  our  hearts  are  small, 

Ordained  for  each  one  spot  should  prove 

Beloved  over  all ;  .  .  .  — Kipling. 

On  September  i6th  we  entered  Plymouth  Sound 
and  anchored  in  Cawsand  Bay.  As  was  fitting,  the  first 
man  to  join  the  ship  was  Mr.  Rowett,  who  gave  us  the 
warmest  of  welcomes  home.  He  was  very  interested  in 
all  I  had  to  tell  him,  but  was  deeply  touched  when  I 
spoke  of  our  old  "  Boss  "  whom  we  had  left  "  down 

So  we  returned,  quietly,  as  was  befitting.  My  task 
when  the  leadership  fell  on  my  shoulders  was  to  "  carry 
on."  This,  with  the  aid  of  the  men  who  gave  me 
their  unquestioning  obedience  and  showed  unswerving 
loyalty,  I  was  able  to  do.  It  gave  me  great  pleasure 
when  Mr.  Rowett,  whose  support  and  co-operation  alone 
made  the  expedition  possible,  said,  "  Old  man,  youVe 
done  splendidly !  " 

We  had  made  observations  and  brought  back  a  mass 

Home  313 

of  data  gathered  through  long  days  of  hardship  and 
bitter  toil,  and  I  hope,  when  all  is  sorted  and  fully 
worked  up,  that  our  efforts  may  prove  of  value  in 
helping  to  solve  the  great  natural  problems  that  still 
perplex  us. 

I  have  taken  part  in  five  expeditions  to  the  Antarctic, 
and  though  I  think  that  my  work  there  is  done,  I  shall 
never  cease  to  feel  glad  that  it  has  fallen  to  my  lot  to 
pioneer  and  guide  the  groping  fingers  of  Knowledge  on 
the  white  edges  of  the  world. 


GEOLOGICAL  OBSERVATIONS,   by   G.    Vibert  Douglas, 
M.C.,  M.Sc,  Geologist  to  the  Expedition. 

As  planned  by  the  late  Sir  Ernest  H.  Shackleton  the  voyage  of 
the  Quest  to  Southern  Regions  was  intended  to  explore  the  coast 
from  Enderby  Land  westwards  to  Coats  Land,  a  length  of 
approximately  2,500  miles.  On  the  routes  to  and  from  this  main 
objective  it  was  his  intention  to  call  at  many  seldom-visited  islands 
in  the  Atlantic,  Southern,  Indian  and  Pacific  Oceans. 

A  part  of  the  second  objective  was  attained,  and  the 
reader  who  desires  to  learn  of  the  detailed  geological  results 
of  the  expedition  is  asked  to  consult  the  full  scientific  report 
which  is  now  being  prepared,  and  which,  by  the  courtesy  of  the 
authorities  of  the  British  Museum  of  Natural  History,  is  to  be 
published  as  one  of  their  Memoirs.  It  is  the  purpose  of  the  writer 
in  these  notes  to  give  an  outline  of  the  general  geology  of  the 
islands  which  were  visited.  The  names  given  to  the  rocks  are 
only  field  terms,  as  no  microscopic  examination  has  been  made 
up  to  the  present. 

Methods  Employed 

It  was  found  to  be  seldom  possible  to  do  accurate  and  close 
geological  mapping,  owing  to  the  limited  time  that  was  available 
for  work  ashore.  Maps  of  the  areas  had  to  be  made,  as  those 
of  the  Admiralty  are  of  too  small  a  scale  to  do  more  than  provide 
a  skeleton  upon  which  the  larger  scale  sketches  can  be  based. 
The  sketches  were  generally  the  result  of  a  rapid  reconnaissance 
with  plane  table  or  compass  and  pace,  or  in  some  cases  simply 
a  freehand  sketch  from  the  summit  of  a  ridge. 

Wherever  possible  hand  specimens  were  collected  and  the 
general  geological  associations  noted. 

The  order  in  which  the  following  islands  are  described  is 
not  that  in  which  they  were  visited,  but  they  are  grouped  as 
follows  : 

{South  Georgia  (68) 
zlTodovskr^'si  Sand- 

wich  Gp.  (o) 




Islands  of  the  South  Atlantic 

Islands  of  the  Mid-Atlantic 

Gough  Island  (5) 
Tristan  da  Cunha  (2^) 
Nightingale  (i) 
Middle  (i) 
Stoltenhoff  (o) 
Inaccessible  (1) 

St.  Paul's  Rocks  (1/2) 
Sao  Miguel  A9ores,  St.  Vin- 
cent (Cape  Verdes)  (3) 
Ascension  (3) 
St.  Helena  (i) 
(The  numbers  in  brackets  refer  to  the  days  spent  ashore.) 


South  Georgia. — Lat.  54°  S.     Long.  37°  W. 

This  island  is  about  116  miles  long  by  20  miles  wide,  with  the 
longer  axis  lying  in  a  general  N.W.  and  S.E.  direction.  It  has 
the  appearance  of  an  upland  dissected  by  cirque  recession  and 

\      -^...-.-^.-^-^-^^^-^ 

enlargement.      The    highest    peak,    Mount    Paget,    which    is    an 
isolated  remnant  of  the  upland,  is  about  8,000  feet  high. 

The  average  peaks  in  the  comb  ridges  are  about  2,000  feet, 
and  the  average  level  of  the  interior  would  be  placed  by  the  writer 
as  about  600  feet  above  sea  level.     The  glacial  valleys  run  in 

3i6  Appendix 

general  across  the  longer  axis  and  are  separated  from  each  other 
by  comb  ridges.  The  majority  of  the  glaciers  show  signs  of 
withdrawal.  At  the  N.W.  end  of  the  island  many  of  the  valleys 
are  free  of  ice  altogether. 

One  interesting  investigation  was  carried  out  at  Royal  Bay, 
where  the  Ross  Glacier  comes  down  to  the  sea.  The  position  of 
the  foot  of  the  glacier  relative  to  the  shore  was  first  measured 
by  the  Gauss  Expedition  of  1882,  then  again  by  Nordenskjold  in 
1902,  and  then  by  the  members  of  the  Quest  in  1922. 

These  measurements  show  this  interesting  fact — that  there  was 
an  advance  of  the  foot  of  over  4,000  feet  during  the  period  1882 
to  1902,  and  that  now  it  is  back  in  the  position  of  1882.  It  is 
suggested  that  this  does  not  indicate  any  general  advance  or 
withdrawal,  but  rather  that  the  glacier,  which  is  operating,  to  use 
an  hydraulic  term,  under  a  high  head  is  being  forced  out  to  sea 
where  the  foot  is  afloat.  It  will  continue  to  advance  until  the 
effect  of  the  rollers  on  the  floating  mass  of  ice  overcomes  the 
tensile  strength  of  the  ice  and  it  breaks  away.  If  we  assume  that 
twenty  (20)  years  represent  this  period  (it  may  be  a  multiple  of 
a  smaller  period),  then  this  gives  an  advance  per  year  of  about 
two  hundred  and  twenty  (220)  feet. 


From  Cooper  Bay  to  Bird  Island  the  rocks  seen  by  the  writer 
were  of  sedimentary  origin.  They  are  of  the  nature  of  grits, 
tuffs  and  phyllites.  To  the  east  of  Cooper  Bay  the  rocks  are 
igneous.  The  basement  is  of  a  basic  nature,  with  flows,  at 
least  two  in  number,  over  it.  Back  from  Cooper  Bay,  and  just 
east  of  the  contact  with  the  sediments,  there  is  a  small  stock 
of  a  more  acid  rock,  which  has  been  called  a  syenite. 

A  provisional  table  is  here  drawn  up  to  show  the  relative  age 
relations,  with  the  more  recent  at  the  top  : 


Soilit'^^  ^  I   I^oleritic  dykes  cutting 

Gabbro  J  t''*^'- 


Tectonic  Movements 

The  sedimentary  rocks  have  been  subject  to  considerable 
folding  and  faulting.  From  the  direction  of  the  folds  and  the 
general  trend  of  the  line  of  schistosity  it  would  appear  that  the 
pressure  had  come  from  the  S.S.W.  or  N.N.E, 





Photos:  Wilkins 

A    BOOBY    CHICK    ON    ST.    PAULS    ROCKS 

TYPES    OF    FISH    CALGHl     IN     IHL     LACiOON    AT    ST.    PALLS    ROCKS 

Photos:  Wilkius 





A  few  fossils  of  a  very  indefinite  character  were  obtained, 
and  are  now  being  worked  out/  Provisionally  it  may  be  said 
that  one,  a  fossil  plant  probably  of  the  Araucaria  type,  points 
to  an  age  not  older  than  lower  carboniferous. 

Elephant  Island. — Lat.  61°  5.    Long.  55O  W. 

This  is  one  of  the  easterly  islands  in  the  Powell  group  of  the 
South  Shetlands,  and  was  only  landed  on  at  two  points.  Lookout 
Harbour  and  Minstrel  Bay. 


The  features  of  Elephant  Island  probably  are  similar  to  what 
those  of  South  Georgia  were  before  the  intense  glacial  erosion 
sculptured  the  island  as  already  described. 

SEAL  fflLs  q 




t^  9^,^   (^$^  NARROW  I. 




It  is  a  plateau  300  feet  at  the  rim,  but  rising  gently  towards 
the  interior.  It  appeared  to  be  covered  by  an  ice  sheet,  and  the 
same  may  be  said  of  Clarence  Island,  which  lies  a  few  miles  to 
the  eastward;  only  in  the  latter  case  there  was  a  definite  cliff  of 
ice  visible  above  the  rock  face. 

The  glaciers  were  more  of  the  hanging  than  of  the  valley  type. 
Especially  was  this  so  on  the  west  coast. 

1  W.  T,  Gordon,  D.Sc,  King's  College,  London. 

3i8  Appendix 


The  rock  specimens  collected  and  the  little  mapping  which 
was  done  indicate  that  the  island  is  composed  mostly  of  sedi- 
mentary rocks  which  have  been  much  metamorphosed.  Phyllites 
predominated,  but  various  schists,  slates  and  banded  limestones 
were  also  seen. 

Zavodovski. — Lat.  56°  S.     Long.  27°  W. 

This  island,  the  most  northerly  in  the  South  Sandwich  group, 
was  not  landed  on  by  the  members  of  the  Quest,  and  the  follow- 
ing observations  from  the  ship  must  be  considered  only  probable 
and  in  no  way  certain. 

The  island  is  of  volcanic  origin,  rising  as  a  cone  from  the 
sea.  The  upper  levels  were  not  seen  by  us,  but  the  height  of  the 
summit  is  given  by  Bellingshausen  as  1,200  feet.  The  cliff  rises 
vertically  from  the  sea  about  40  feet,  and  then  there  is  a  long, 
gentle  slope  gradually  getting  steeper. 

The  lava  flows  seen  on  the  cliff  face  appeared  to  consist  of  a 
compact  columnar  basalt  at  the  base.  Above  there  was  a  line  of 
red  cinder,  and  above  this  again  what  looked  to  be  rough  pahoehoe 
lava.  A  number  of  clefts  and  vents  were  seen  on  the  face  of  the 
cliff,  and  from  these  there  issued  bluish  fumes. 

Soundings  with  the  Kelvin  were  taken  every  half-mile  or  so, 
and  the  material  collected  corresponds  with  the  basalts  and  cinder 

It  was  unfortunate  that  we  were  unable  to  visit  the  other 
islands  in  this  group,  for  with  the  exception  of  the  scanty  reports 
of  Bellingshausen,  C.  A.  Larsen  and  a  German  expedition,  the 
geology  and  natural  history  are  practically  unknown,  and  the 
existing  charts  are  not  by  any  means  complete. 

PETROLOGICAL    REPORT,  by   W.    Campbell   Smith,    M.C, 
M.A.,  British  Museum  of  Natural  History. 

Rock  fragments  washed  from  material  dredged  at   19  fathoms 
off  Zavodovski,  South  Sandwich  group,  20/1/22. 

The  sample  consisted  of  a  few  grammes  of  rounded  black 
pellets  varying  in  diameter  from  i  to  5  mm.  They  consisted  of 
the  following  : 

Ten  dense  black  glassy  basalts.  All  appear  free  of  olivine. 
Some  are  crowded  with  minute  laths  of  plagioclase ;  others 
contain  fewer  minute  laths  but  show  a  few  small  phenocrysts 
of  plagioclase,  or  of  augite,  or  both. 

Four  dense  dark-brown  glassy  olivine-basalts,  some  con- 
taining many  crystals  of  plagioclase,  and  a  few  crystals  of 
olivine  and  augite.  The  glass  is  crowded  densely  with 
magnetite  and  sometimes  with  other  undetermined  microliths. 

Appendix  319 

Four  rather  paler  basalts  with  holocrystalline-porphyritic 
texture.  These  contain  very  small  phenocrysts  of  plagioclase 
and  sometimes  of  augite,  in  a  ground  mass  of  very  minute 
laths  of  felspar  and  grains  of  augite  and  magnetite.  The 
texture  of  the  ground  mass  is  intergranular.  One  of  the 
specimens  contained  no  augite  phenocrysts,  but  rather 
numerous  microphenocrysts  of  magnetite. 

Tvi^o  small  fragments  of  pale  basalt-glass,  deep  olive-buff 
in  colour.  Microliths  are  absent  in  one  specimen,  but  they 
are  abundant  in  the  other  and  consist  of  small  laths  of  plagio- 
clase, and  minute  prisms  of  augite  and  a  few  crystals  of  what 
is  probably  olivine.  The  felspar  laths  gave  extinction  angles 
of  15°,  but  only  a  very  few  measurements  could  be  made. 
This  material  resembles  the  pale  patches  of  glass  in  the 
palagonite  tuffs  of  Sicily  and  of  Kerguelen  Land,^  and  a 
somewhat  similar  though  darker  coloured  rock  has  been  de- 
scribed from  Schwartzenfels  Hesse  as  vitrophyric  basalt,  and 
has  been  elegantly  figured  by  Berwerth.' 

GouGH  Island. — Lat.  40°  5.     Long,  10°  W. 

Cough  Island  lies  roughly  200  miles  south  of  the  Tristan  da 
Cunha  group.     It  is  8  miles  long  by  3  miles  wide. 


The  island  forms  a  monoclinal  block  with  dip  slopes  to  the 
west  and  escarpments  to  the  east.  The  highest  point  on  the 
long  ridge  which  runs  down  the  longer  axis  of  the  island  is 
about  2,915  feet  above  sea  level. 

The  west  side  of  the  ridge  goes  down  in  a  long  slope  to  the 
cliffs  bordering  the  sea. 

The  escarpments  on  the  east  side  are  cut  by  three  or  four 
glens.  The  largest  one,  about  half-way  down  the  coast,  gives 
access  to  the  interior. 

The  most  striking  feature,  looking  up  the  glen,  is  the  great 
stock  of  an  acid  intrusive  rock,  which  rises  to  2,270  feet.  It 
can  best  be  described  in  the  words  of  Scott : 

"Shooting    abruptly    from    the    dell 
Its  thunder  splintered  pinnacle." 

The  island  is  the  result  of  a  series  of  fissure  flows  of  a  basaltic 
and   trachytic  nature.     These   flows   have  been   intruded  by  the 

1  Renard  (A).     Voyage  of  H.M.S.  Challenger,  Phys.  and  Chem.,  Vol.  ii,  i88g,  p.  120 
«  Berwerth  (F).     Mikroskopische  Structurbilder  der  Massengesteine,  Lief  II,  No  16 



stock  just  mentioned  above,  and  many  fissures  were  opened  by 
it.  These  have  subsequently  been  filled  by  dykes.  The  rock 
forming  the  dykes  is  very  hard,  with  the  result  that  they  are  now 
a  very  prominent  feature,  and  stand  up  in  some  cases  about 
50  feet  above  the  surrounding  country.  This  is  due,  of  course, 
to  differential  weathering. 

It  is  probable  that  the  east  coast  represents  a  fault  plane, 
but  as  the  erosion  has  been  great,  direct  evidence  is  wanting. 
Apart  from  this  fault  no  faulting  nor  folding  was  observed. 

Tristan  da  Cunha. — Lat.  37O  S.     Long.  12^  W. 

Tristan  is  an  island  octagonal  in  plan,  about  8  miles  across. 
It  rises  as  a  prism  for  about  2,000  feet,  and  then  tapers  off  as  a 
cone  to  about  6,400  feet  above  sea  level.  The  crater  is  now  filled 
with  water,  and  at  that  level  is  about  200  feet  across.  The  rain- 
fall on  the  upper  slopes  is  very  great,  and  they  are  deeply 
eroded.  At  the  foot  of  the  cliff,  on  the  northern  shore,  there  is  a 
gently  sloping  lava  plain,  upon  which  the  settlement  is  situated. 

Hardy  Rock^ 
Swam  Bay 

West  Pb. 

Cotton  Bay 


■2CA  MlLtS 

In  extent  it  is  about  3^  miles  long  by  half  a  mile  wide.  About 
midway  between  the  extremities  there  are  a  few  small  craters 
rising  above  the  plain.  The  plain  is  grass  clothed,  and  the  upper 
slopes    are   covered   in    moss,    bracken    and    scrub    trees.      This 


f/iotoi  :  Wilkins. 


Appendix  321 

vegetation  continues  up  to  about  4,000  feet,  above  which  point 
the  rocks  are  bare. 


The  island  consists  of  a  great  series  of  lava  flows  which  have 
poured  from  the  volcano,  and  are  of  the  nature  of  scoriae,  cinder, 
trachyte  and  basalt  in  succeeding  and  alternating  layers.  As  is 
so  common  on  these  volcanic  islands,  the  lower  lava  is  generally 
a  hard,  compact  basalt  showing  rough  columnar  structure. 

Only  one  section  was  observed,  which  is  placed  below,  but 
there  is  good  reason  to  believe  that  to  the  west,  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Swain  Bay,  more  complex  conditions  exist,  as  many 
samples  of  bombs  of  a  rock  carrying  large  crystals  of  felspar 
and  hornblende  and  other  coarse  grained  rocks  were  given  to 
the  writer  by  some  of  the  islanders,  who  stated  that  they  came 
from  this  locality. 

Preliminary  note  by  W.  Campbell  Smith,  M.C,  M.A., 
on  the  samples  given  by  islanders  at  Tristan  da  Cunha  and 
reported  to  have  come  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Swain  Bay. 
The  specimens  can  be  grouped  in  four  types  : 

(1)  Rocks  with  felspar  almost  nil.      Probably  consist  mainly 

hornblende  and  pyroxene,  with  perhaps  some  olivine, 
apatite  and  magnetite. 

(2)  Rocks   with    a   little   felspar    and    characterized    by    large 

poikilitic  plates  of  hornblende.  These  contain  abundant 
pyroxene,   and   some  olivine,   apatite  and  magnetite. 

(3)  Rocks   with    long,    thin   blades   of   hornblende   in   a   fine- 

grained matrix  of  labradorite,  and  with  some  patches  of 
black  "glass"  and  abundant  minute  prisms  of  apatite. 
In  hand  specimens  these  look  like  dyke-rocks,  but  I 
think  the  texture  and  the  patches  of  magnetite  show  that 
they  are  segregations. 

(4)  Coarse-grained  rocks  with  perhaps  more  felspar  than  horn- 

blende. Hornblende  in  large  crystals  in  a  matrix  of 
labradorite.  The  texture  is  coarser  than  in  the  preceding 
type.  Felspars  reach  2  or  3  mm.  in  diameter.  The 
hornblende  includes  some  small  ctystals  of  yellow 
pyroxene.     Apatite  and  magnetite  are  given  abundant. 

All  four  types  appear  to  be  closely  inter-related.  They  con- 
tain the  same  minerals  in  varying  proportions  and  probably  grade 
one  into  the  other. 

The  obsidian  and  the  pieces  of  red  glass  are  basalt  glass,  and 
are  probably  similar  to  the  specimen  described  by  Renard  in  the 
Report  on  the  Challenger  Collection,  p.  82.     He  states  that  the 
inhabitants  use  the  rock  for  striking  fire. 





















To  sea 

Rock   provisionally    named. 

Scoriae  and  vesicular  basalt. 

Loose  scoriae  and  bombs. 



Vesicular  basalt. 

Trachytic  agglomerate. 

Compact  basalt. 

Red  scoriae. 



Scoriae  and  basalt. 

Basalt  and  scoriae. 

Scoriae  and  basalt. 

Grey  basalt. 
(Break  in  the  observations). 

Basalt  and  scoriae. 
(Break  in  the  observations). 



Compact  basalt. 


Forming  summit. 
Crater  cone. 

A  contact. 
A  contact. 
A  contact. 

A  contact. 

fThis  rock  is  used  for 
building  the  dwell- 
ings by  the  inhabi- 

Rough  columnar 

A  number  of  vapour  vents  were  observed  at  different  points. 

It  is  apparent  that  the  small  craters  mentioned  above  as  exist- 
ing on  the  settlement  plain  sprang  up  after  the  main  period  of 
eruption  when  the  island  was  built. 

To  the  west  and  about  22  miles  from  Tristan  there  are  the  four 
islands — Nightingale,  Middle,  Stoltenhoff  and  Inaccessible. 

Topography  Nightingale 

This  island,  which  is  the  most  southerly  of  the  group,  is 
rectangular  in  plan,  one  mile  by  three-quarters.  High  cliffs  bound 
the  south,  east  and  west  sides.  The  northern  slopes  descend 
gradually  to  the  sea,  where  they  terminate  in  cliffs  about  30  feet 

The  highest  point  is  on  the  east  side  of  the  island,  and  is  about 
1, 000  teet  above  sea  level.     It  is  connected  by  a  low  featured  col 



to  the  high  land  to  the  south-west.  To  the  west,  that  is,  towards 
the  interior  of  the  island,  there  is  a  depressed  area  which  now  has 
a  small  pond  in  it.  It  is  probable  that  this  was  once  the  crater 
from  which  the  lavas  issued. 

iTOLTCNworr  I 

mioolc  z 


)*  //  ^  fSJLAUiUL, 


One  day  only  was  available  for  work  on  this  island,  and  orders 
were  that  the  supposed  guano  deposits  which  were  reported  at  the 
north  side  were  to  be  examined.  These  deposits  are  of  no 
economic  value,  and  an  analysis  is  here  appended. 

Certificate  of  Analysis. 

Ogston  and  Moore, 

Analytical  Chemists, 

8g  Aldgate,  London. 
July  28,   1922. 
Guano  from  Nightingale  Island. 

Moisture        72.12 

Organic  matter  and  ammonia  salts 24.70 

Phosphoric  acid      nil 

Lime      nil 

Magnesia,  alkalies,  etc 1.60 

Silicious  matter     i-5^ 


324  Appendix 

Guano  jrom  Cave  on  Middle  Island. 



Organic  matter  and  ammonia  salts 


Phosphoric  acid     



5- 10 

Magnesia,  alkalies,  etc 


Silicious  matter      



The  rocks,  however,  appeared  to  be  in  general  of  a  trachytic 
Topography  Middle  Island 

Middle  Island  lies  less  than  half  a  mile  to  the  north  of  Nightin- 
gale. It  is  in  plan  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  square,  and  rises 
to  a  height  of  about  200  feet.  It  is  flat-topped,  with  minor 


There  have  been  questions  asked  as  to  the  origin  of  Middle 
Island,  and  to  the  writer,  who  had  this  in  mind  when  visiting  the 
island,  the  following  were  the  reasons  for  its  existence. 

The  trachytic  flows  from  Nightingale  probably  extended  at 
one  time  about  a  mile  farther  to  the  north  than  the  present 
northern  shore  of  Nightingale.  This  is  evidenced  by  the  trachytic 
agglomerate  and  trachyte  seen  on  Middle.  Following  this  there 
was  an  effusion  of  a  hard,  compact  lava  from  a  neck  which  exists 
on  the  latter  island.  The  border  of  the  neck  is  marked  by  a 
breccia.  The  dykes  emanating  from  this  lava  are  not  seen  on 
Nightingale,  but  some  of  the  rocks  which  infest  the  channel 
between  the  islands  are  probably  their  eroded  remains.  The 
action  of  the  sea  on  the  mass  of  altered  trachyte  between  Middle 
and  Nightingale  Islands  has  in  the  course  of  time  cut  a  channel 

^^^^  '  Stoltenhoff 

It  is  not  possible  to  land  on  this  island,  as  it  rises  sheer  from 
the  sea  to  about  200  feet.  It  is  flat-topped,  and  in  area  about 
500  yards  by  150  yards.  The  rock  of  which  it  is  composed 
appears  to  be  of  a  trachytic  nature,  and  may  be  the  northern 
limit  of  the  flows  from  Nightingale,  which  have  already  been 
mentioned  ;  it  may,  however,  be  a  centre  of  activity,  such  as  is 
described  as  existing  on  Middle  Island. 

Topography  Inaccessible   Island 

Eleven  miles  to  the  N.N.W.  from  Stoltenhoff  is  this  island, 
which  is  the  most  northerly  one  of  the  group.  In  plan  it  is  pear- 
shaped,  being  about  3  miles  by  2^ 



In  its  general  features  it  is  a  basin,  being  a  great  caldera,  the 
south-east  side  of  which  has  been  blown  out.  A  cone  rises  to 
about  1,500  feet  towards  the  north-east  of  the  depressed  central 
area.  The  interior  is  broken  country  clothed  in  verdure,  and 
on  account  of  the  high  rim,  which  affords  protection  from  the 
winds,  would  be  suitable  for  human  habitation.  A  stream  winds 
through  the  interior,  finally  falling  in  a  beautiful  cascade  to  the 
North  Pt, 

West  PL 

Pyramid ;{•<<>      South  Hill 


*         ^         f*        \     u1  i 

beach  at  the  north-east  shore,  where  a  landing  is  easily  made  if 
the  wind  is  not  from  the  north. 


The  central  cone  is  a  mass  of  scoriae,  and  the  section  from  here 
to  the  sea  near  the  waterfall  shows  that  there  have  been  succes- 
sive flows  of  basalt  and  trachyte.  The  high  cliffs  to  the  west  of 
the  landing  are  cut  by  a  series  of  parallel  dykes,  which  are  an 
outstanding  feature. 

The  St.  Paul's  Rocks 
These  lie  just  north  of  the  equator,  almost  midway  between 
Africa  and  Brazil.  These  rocks  are  almost  unique  in  occurrence, 
for,  as  Charles  Darwin  remarks  in  his  journal,  "Its  mineralogical 
constitution  is  not  simple.  ...  It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  all 
the  many  small  islands,  lying  far  from  any  continent,  with  the 
exception  of  the  Seychelles  and  this  little  point  of  rock,  are  com- 
posed either  of  coral  or  erupted  matter." 



The  St.  Paul's  Rocks  are  a  group  of  eight  or  nine  small  rocky 
islands,  the  largest  of  which  is  only  about  350  feet  long  by  150 
feet  wide.  This  island  and  the  most  northerly  were  the  only  ones 
where  a  landing  was  effected. 

The  whole  of  the  southerly  portion  of  the  main  island  is  com- 
posed of  a  highly  weathered  rock  which  has  thin  veinlets  of 
serpentine  cutting  through  it.  Running  in  a  north  and  south 
direction,    and    in    places   dragged    and    folded   and   cutting   this 



SKE.TCH  MAP  .r-^ 


Stale  :-  |  Inch  -  too  fi»«c. 

0«nu<i   Ju»4t9ftBn<UUcMr««y. 

Bl  3  46  ref«r  to  samples  taken 

formation,  there  is  a  dyke,  which  stands  up  prominently  from  the 
main  country  rock.  About  30  yards  to  the  east  the  rock  is  cut  by 
a  series  of  irregular  interlacing  narrow  dykes  having  the  appear- 
ance of  old  concrete.  The  ground  mass  is  hard  and  to  the  eye 
amorphous.  It  contains  rounded  pebbles  and  possibly  shell 

Towards  the  centre  of  the  main  island  the  rock  formation 
changes  abruptly  to  a  compact  glassy  green  rock,  probably  a 
peridotite.  It  has  developed  a  jointing,  and  but  for  the  con- 
glomerate forms  the  remainder  of  the  island  and  possibly  the  other 
islands  as  well,  because  the  country  rock  on  the  north  island  is  of 
a  similar  nature. 

Appendix  327 

Along  the  inside  of  the  central  basin  at  two  points  there 
occurs  a  conglomerate — pebbles  ranging  from  3  inches  in  diameter 
to  a  fraction  of  an  inch  cemented  in  a  matrix. 

Towards  the  north  end  there  is  a  fault  which  crosses  the 
island  in  a  N.W.  and  S.E.  direction,  and  parallel  to  which  there  is 
a  dark,  rusty  dyke. 

In  two  or  three  places  on  the  main  island,  one  of  which  is 
near  this  fault,  there  are  small  pot  holes.  There  was  a  rounded 
boulder  in  each,  and  probably,  as  the  sea  comes  swirling  in  at 
high  tide,  a  rotary  motion  is  given  to  the  boulder  and  the  pot  hole 

The  general  formation  of  the  islands  might  be  described  as 
a  stock  of  glassy  peridotite  which  has  risen  from  the  bed  of  the 
ocean  and  of  which  only  the  highest  points  are  now  visible. 

SaS  Miguel  Azores,  St.  Vincent  (Cape  Verde),  Ascension  and 

St.  Helena 
The  above  islands  were  called  at  and  examined,  but  as  the 
geology  has  already  been  described  by  others  who  had  more  time 
at  their  disposal,  no  new  light  was  thrown  on  them.  The  visits, 
however,  were  valuable  in  that  they  will  enable  the  wTiter  to 
compare  the  conditions  existing  at  these  places  with  the  seldom 
visited  islands  already  above  described. 


In  collaboration  with  the  hydrographer,  material  from  the 
sea  floor  was  obtained  by  soundings  in  various  localities.  This 
material  is  being  examined  microscopically,  and  its  physical 
properties  are  being  determined  (specific  gravity,  gradation  of 
sizes,  radioactivity,  etc.). 


The  general  reader  is  reminded  that  the  geological  observa- 
tions recorded  here  are  in  no  way  complete.  Much  detailed  work 
is  necessary  on  these  various  islands  before  the  full  record  can 
be  written.  Nature  has  laid  open  the  story  of  her  history  to 
the  careful  investigator,  but  from  the  casual  one  she  withholds 
the  deeper  meaning. 


The  writer  wishes  in  conclusion  to  thank  the  following  for 
their  hearty  co-operation,  which  made  the  above  results  possible  : 

Capt.  G.  H.  Wilkins,  M.C.,  F.R.G.S. 
Major  C.  R.  Carr,  D.F.C. 
Messrs.  Dell,  Argles  and  Marr. 

328  Appendix 

The  work  at  South  Georgia  would  have  been  impossible  but 
for  the  kind  assistance  of  the  managers  of  the  whaling  com- 
panies :     j^^  j)g  pgg^^  Company,  of  Buenos  Aires 

The  Southern  Whaling  Company  (Lever  Bros.) 

The  Tonsberg  Company,  of  Norway 

The  Westfahl  Company,  of  Norway 

The  Salvesen  Company,  of  Leith,  Scotland 

The  excellent  surveying  instruments  which  were  so  kindly 
lent  by  Messrs.  Troughton  and  Simms  proved  invaluable  under  all 

Thanks  are  specially  due  to  Mr.  John  Quiller  Rowett,  LL.D., 
without  whose  generous  support  the  expedition  would  have  been 



Soon  after  leaving  England  numbers  of  landbirds  were  seen  about 
the  ship.  In  position  lat.  43°  52'  S.  and  11°  51'  W.  long,  we  saw 
a  heron  passing  overhead,  steering  in  a  S.S.E.  direction  towards 
the  northern  coast  of  Africa.  After  leaving  Lisbon  on  the  way  to 
Madeira,  numbers  of  robins,  wrens,  doves,  larks  and  sparrows 
flew  aboard  in  an  exhausted  condition.  They  were  captured, 
measured  and  their  colourings  noted,  afterwards  given  food  and 
water,  and  allowed  to  go  free.  One  dove  that  came  near  the  ship 
was  so  exhausted  that  it  fell  several  times  into  the  sea,  which  was 
very  choppy.  We  expected  it  to  drown,  but  on  each  occasion  it 
rose  from  the  break  of  the  wave  and  finally  settled  on  the  topsail 
yard,  where  it  rested  and  dried  itself,  and  finally  set  off  with 
renewed  vigour  in  the  direction  of  land.  Mother  Carey's  Chickens 
joined  us  soon  after  our  start,  and  we  were  rarely  without  them 
throughout  the  voyage. 

At  St.  Vincent  we  collected  specimens  of  vultures,  mostly  black 
or  dark  brown,  but  some  were  white  with  black  markings.  A  few 
crows,  larks  and  other  small  binds  were  seen.  A  white  owl  was 
presented  to  the  naturalist  by  one  of  the  residents.  The  species 
is  not  common  to  the  island,  but  is  reported  to  have  been  seen 
after  high  winds  blowing  from  the  mainland. 

In  latitude  60°  26'  N.  we  were  surrounded  by  a  particularly 
large  school  of  porpoises,  and  secured  one  by  harpooning  it  from 
the  bowsprit.  It  was  a  male,  7  feet  7  inches  in  length,  and  the 
stomach  contained  the  remains  of  5  squids  and  114  octopus  beaks. 

We  visited  St.  Paul's  Rocks  on  November  8th,  when  two  species 

Appendix  329 

of  birds  were  found  to  be  nesting  :  the  Noddy  Tern  and  the  Booby. 
The  Noddy  Tern  {Anous  stolidus)  is  shy,  and  few  except  those 
with  young  remained  on  the  island.  We  collected  some  of  their 
eggs,  many  of  them  addled.  The  young  were  almost  fully  fledged, 
but  each  was  attended  by  the  parent  bird,  which  stayed  to  defend 
it.  These  birds  varied  largely  in  colourings,  chiefly  in  the  degrees 
of  white  and  lavender  grey  of  the  forehead  and  back  of  the  neck, 
the  lighter  phase  being  the  more  common.  Nests  were  built 
roughly  to  a  height  of  from  12  to  15  cm.,  and  composed  largely 
of  seaweed  and  guano.  Built-up  nests  predominated,  but  several 
eggs  and  young  were  found  in  depressions  in  the  broken  rocks. 
The  Brown  Gannet,  or  Booby  (Sula  leucogastra)^  is  so  called 
from  its  stupid  expression.  The  nests  consisted  of  rocks,  a  few 
feathers  and  guano,  or  merely  depressions  in  the  rock.  We 
collected  some  eggs  and  several  young  ones  in  all  stages,  from 
one  which  was  newly  hatched,  without  down  or  feathers  and  eyes 
closed,  to  those  which  were  almost  fully  fledged.  The  nests  are 
so  set  in  the  irregular  and  sloping  surfaces  that  the  birds  con- 
tinually foul  each  other,  the  young  especially  becoming  very  filthy 
in  this  way.  They  live  largely,  if  not  entirely,  on  flying  fish,  and 
gorge  themselves  so  heavily  with  them  that  when  taking  flight 
on  our  going  amongst  them  each  bird  disgorged  one,  two  or  three 
fish  in  different  stages  of  digestion. 

Crabs  abound  on  the  rocks.  They  are  very  active  and  nimble, 
and  at  the  approach  of  man  scramble  into  crevices.  They  are  able 
to  jump,  and  on  several  occasions  were  seen  to  gather  their  legs 
under  them  and  leap  squarely  forward  a  distance  of  two  or  three 
feet.  Some  grow  to  large  size  and  develop  powerful  claws,  but 
apparently  they  make  no  attempt  to  seize  the  birds,  the  chicks  or 
the  eggs.  When  the  adult  bird  disgorged  on  rising,  the  crabs 
hastened  to  seize  the  flying  fish,  and,  tearing  them  to  pieces, 
crammed  them  voraciously  into  their  jaws.  There  is  a  lagoon  in 
the  middle  of  the  rocks,  the  floor  of  which  is  covered  with  marine 
plants  of  many  varieties,  whilst  fish  swim  to  and  fro  in  great 
numbers.  Sharks,  varying  in  length  from  four  to  eight  feet, 
swarmed  in  it,  and  we  harpooned  several.  The  stomachs  of  most 
of  them  were  empty,  and  the  others  contained  only  a  few  squids. 
A  full  description  of  the  fish  of  St.  Paul's  Rocks  will  be  found 
elsewhere.  Numerous  specimens  of  all  species  were  taken  from 
the  rocks  and  preserved  for  sending  to  the  museums. 

We  left  Rio  de  Janeiro  on  January  i8th  for  South  Georgia. 
During  this  part  of  the  journey  we  were  followed  by  stormy 
petrels,  Wilson  petrels,  wandering  albatross,  mollymauks,  Cape 
pigeons,  Cape  hens,  sooty  albatross,  and  saw  several  terns.  As 
we  neared  the  island  we  observed  penguins,  skua  gulls  and  giant 
petrels,  and,  as  we  passed  along  the  coast,  prions,  diving  petrels 
and  dominican  gulls. 

330  Appendix 

The  whaling  stations  of  South  Georgia  are  visited  by  many 
varieties  of  seabirds,  which  congregate  there  in  hundreds  of 
thousands  for  the  offal  which  finds  its  way  into  the  sea.  By  act- 
ing as  scavengers  they  serve  a  very  useful  purpose.  Cape  pigeons 
thickly  cover  the  water  for  hundreds  of  square  yards  and  present  a 
really  extraordinary  sight.  They  chatter  and  squabble  incessantly. 
Terns  flit  gracefully  about,  never  settling  on  the  water,  but  making 
occasional  short  dives  for  morsels.  Wilson  petrels  flit  like  fairies 
over  the  surface,  their  feet  touching,  but  their  bodies  never  enter- 
ing the  sea.  Dominican  gulls,  skua  gulls,  mollymauks  and  giant 
petrels  also  come  about  in  hundreds,  for  there  is  food  in  abundance 
in  the  harbours. 

There  are  about  twenty-four  species  of  birds  in  South  Georgia, 
including  a  wagtail  (Anthus  antarcticus),  which  is  found  on  the 
lower  slopes  of  the  island  about  the  beaches.  The  Wandering 
Albatross  {Diomedea  exulans)  is  the  most  stately  and  graceful 
of  all  flying  birds,  yet  when  seen  ashore  or  at  close  range 
has  a  curiously  foolish  expression.  It  nests  on  the  grassy 
promontories  of  the  main  island  and  on  some  of  the  smaller 
outlying  islets.  The  nests  are  pyramidal  mounds  composed  of 
tussock  grass,  mud  and  a  few  feathers.  The  hen  lays  one  egg, 
which  the  parent  birds  take  turns  in  incubating.  The  chicks  are 
pretty  white  fluffy  things,  which  later  take  on  a  brown  adult 
plumage.  As  the  bird  increases  in  size  so  the  brown  colouring 
gives  way  to  a  white  phase,  the  very  old  ones  being  almost  entirely 
white.  The  nesting  season  commences  about  the  middle  of  January. 
Wilkins  observed  that  inter-mating  took  place  between  birds  of 
neighbouring  nests,  a  male  bird  wandering  off  to  visit  an  already 
mated  female.  This  usually  took  place  when  the  husband  bird  was 
out  at  sea  in  search  of  food,  but  occasionally  it  was  observed  that 
the  apparently  true  mate  would  appear  on  the  scene,  and,  discover- 
ing the  intruder,  would  show  fight,  and  a  battle  would  ensue. 
This,  however,  was  never  a  serious  matter,  and  was  mainly  an 
exhibition  of  side-stepping,  feints  and  vicious  snaps  of  the  beaks, 
but  the  combatants  rarely  came  to  real  pecking  or  blows.  The 
female  looked  on  and  kept  up  a  chattering  noise  with  the  bill  whilst 
the  fight  lasted.  Only  once  was  a  female  seen  to  leave  nest  and 
egg  unprotected.  In  a  moment  a  skua  had  swept  down  and  thrust 
his  beak  into  the  egg.  The  albatross  does  not  nest  on  the  north- 
east coast  of  South  Georgia  farther  south  than  Possession  Bay. 

The  Sooty  Albatross  {Phoehetria  palpehrata)  rivals,  or  even 
excels  the  "  Wanderer"  in  gracefulness  of  flight.  It  is  not  very 
common  in  South  Georgia,  those  found  being  at  isolated  points 
on  the  north-western  coast. 

The  Blackbrowed  xMbatross,  or  Mollymauk,  is  found  in  two 
varieties  {Thalassogeron  melanophrys  and  T.  chrysostoma).  They 
are  found  breeding  at  the  north-western  end  and  on  the  neighbour- 

Appendix  33i 

ing  islets.  Numbers  of  the  former  are  common  ;  of  the  latter,  rare. 
Wilkins  discovered  a  nest  and  egg,  and  succeeded  in  obtaining 
specimens — the  first  to  be  collected.  He  also  cinematographed 
the  bird  on  its  nest.  The  newly  hatched  chick  is  covered  with 
light  grey  down,  slightly  darker  on  the  wings,  and  increasing  in 
depth  of  colour  with  age.  The  bill  is  a  dark  horn  colour,  the  iris 
light  brown,  and  the  feet  light  grey. 

The  Giant  Petrel — Nellie,  or  Stinker — (Ossijraga  gigantea)  is 
found  nesting  on  all  the  grassy  bluffs,  but  most  commonly  on  the 
islets  of  the  Bay  of  Isles,  amongst  the  "Wanderers."  They  are 
exceedingly  ugly  and  ungainly,  have  an  unpleasant  smell,  and 
their  feathers  are  infested  with  ticks. 

Cape  Hens  [Majaqueus  aequinoctialis)  are  seldom  seen  near 
land  except  in  the  evening,  when  they  sit  at  the  doors  of  their 
burrows  chattering  away  in  neighbourly  fashion. 

Wilson  Petrels  flock  in  great  numbers  about  the  whaling 
stations.     They  nest  in  burrows. 

The  Diving  Petrel  {Pelecanoides  urinatrix)  frequents  the  west 
coast  of  South  Georgia  in  greatest  numbers,  but  an  occasional 
one  may  be  found  at  any  place  near  the  shore.* 

Whale  Birds  (Prion)  are  very  common  on  most  of  the  small 
islands  and  on  some  places  on  the  main  island.  They  live  in 
burrows.  They  are  rarely  seen  by  day,  as  they  can  only  leave 
and  return  to  the  burrows  under  cover  of  darkness,  for  they  are 
preyed  upon  relentlessly  by  the  skua  gulls.  They  flock  out  tO'  sea 
in  clouds  just  after  nightfall  and  return  in  the  early  morning. 
Those  which  fail  to  get  in  by  daybreak  almost  certainly  fall 
victims  to  the  rapacious  skuas,  which  are  responsible  for  the  death 
of  thousands  of  them  yearly.     They  lay  a  single  egg. 

Cape  Pigeons  {Daption  capensis)  are  the  brightest  and  cheeriest 
of  all  seabirds.  They  frequent  the  whaling  stations  in  hundreds 
of  thousands.  Their  chattering  and  chaffering  as  they  squabble 
over  choice  pieces  of  offal  goes  on  unceasingly  all  day  and  all 
night.     They  nest  in  clefts  high  up  in  the  cliff  faces. 

Snow  Petrels  {Pagodroma  nivea)  have  been  seen  in  the  vicinity 
of  the  island,  but  are  rare.' 

Silver-Grey  Petrels  (Priocella  glacialoides)  were  seen  during 
our  second  visit  to  the  island,  but  are  also  rare  in  this  locality. 

There  are  two  varieties  of  skua  gull  :  Megalestris  McCormicki 
and  M.  antarctica.  They  are  pirates  and  live  by  acts  of  piracy. 
All  the  seabirds  have  in  one  way  or  another  to  protect  themselves 
from  their  depredations.  The  smaller  birds  live  in  narrow  clefts 
or  in  burrows.  The  larger  birds,  which  nest  in  the  open,  have  to 
keep  a  continuous  watch  over  nest  and  chick.     The  skua  Is  brown 


^  Mr.  Clark,  the  biologist  of  the  Endurance,  found  them  nesting  in  burrows 

the  middle  of  Moraine  Plain,  Cumberland  Bay. 

*  Mr.  Clark  found  them  in  numbers  at  Larsen  Harbour  in  November,  1914. 

332  Appendix 

coloured  and  has  a  strong,  curved,  hawk-like  beak.  Its  habits 
and  mode  of  life  present  a  fascinating-  study,  but  space  prevents  a 
full  description.  Skuas  make  their  nests  on  grassy  slopes  about  the 
island,  and  resent  any  approach  by  strangers.  Often  when  pro- 
ceeding over  the  bluffs  one  is  annoyed  by  these  birds,  which  have  a 
disconcerting  habit  of  circling  in  the  air,  to  descend  with  a  swoop 
and  a  loud  rush  of  air  straight  at  one's  head,  clearing  it  by  only  a 
few  inches. 

The  Dominican  Gull  {Larus  dominicanus)  is  a  fine-looking 
black-backed  gull  which  nests  in  the  tussock  grass.  It  is  found 
in  large  numbers  about  the  whaling  station. 

The  Tern  {Sterna  vittata)  is  a  prettily-marked  little  bird  which 
nests  in  the  open,  and  is  also  found  about  the  stations.  It  has  a 
pretty,  graceful  flight,  and  hovers  continually  above  the  surface 
looking  for  scraps,  in  search  of  which  it  occasionally  makes  short 

The  Blue-Eyed  Shag  {Phalacrocorax  atriceps)  is  found  in  large 
numbers  round  the  island.  It  is  a  most  business-like  bird,  and 
goes  steadily  about  its  daily  work,  taking  very  little  notice  of 
outside  interruptions.  It  is  more  prettily  marked  than  the 
northern  shag,  having  a  black  back  and  white  belly.  The  back 
of  the  head  is  black,  and  carries  a  tuft  of  black  feathers.  The 
white  of  the  belly  is  continued  up  over  the  under  part  of  the  neck 
and  head.  The  eye  is  blue  coloured.  It  lays  two  or  three  greenish- 
white  eggs,  and  the  young  are  covered  with  a  dark-coloured  down. 
Their  food  is  fish,  which  they  obtain  by  diving,  and  of  which  they 
consume  an  enormous  number  daily. 

Paddies,  or  Sheathbills  {Chionis  alba)^  are  not  common  on 
this  island,  though  a  few  were  seen  about  the  coast  by  the 

South  Georgian  Teal  {Nettion  georgicum)  are  said  to  be  getting 
very  rare.     A  few  were  noticed  and  some  specimens  collected. 

Falkland  Island  Geese — introduced  by  man — are  also  rare,  and 
none  were  seen  by  the  naturalist.^  The  whalers  say  that  a  few 
are  still  to  be  found  about  Cumberland  Bay. 

There  are  three  species  of  penguin  :  Gentoo  (Pygoscelis  papua), 
King  {Aptenodytes  patagonica),  and  Rockhopper  {Eudyptes  Chryso- 
lophus).  The  Gentoo  is  a  brightly  marked  bird  with  black  head  and 
neck,  black  back  and  white  belly,  yellow  legs,  and  a  white  patch 
over  each  eye  that  gives  it  a  curiously  inane  expression.  It  is  the 
most  shy  of  the  penguins,  and  easily  takes  fright  if  rapidly 
approached.  By  dropping  on  its  breast  and  using  both  feet  and 
flippers  it  can  travel  at  considerable  speed  and  can  dodge  cleverly. 
It  nests  in  tussock  grass.  The  King  is  larger  than  the  Gentoo, 
and  has  very  bright  markings  about  the  neck  and  upper  part  of 

*  Mr.  Clark,  of  the  Endurance,  saw  a  few  in  West  Bay,  Cumberland  Bay, 
in  November,  1914. 

Appendix  333 

the  breast.  It  nests  in  tussock  grass,  but  keeps  nearer  to  the 
sea  edge  then  the  Gentoo.  The  Rockhopper  is  less  common  than 
either  of  the  others.  It  is  smaller  than  the  Gentoo  and  resembles 
it  somewhat  in  appearance  except  that  the  feet  are  of  a  more 
browny  yellow,  the  patch  over  the  eye  is  lacking,  and  it  has  a 
tuft  of  yellow  and  black  feathers.  Occasional  Ringed  and  Adelie 
penguins  were  noticed,  but  they  are  stragglers  and  not  commonly 
seen  on  the  island. 

Sea-elephants  are  common  on  all  the  beaches  of  South  Georgia 
during  the  summer  months,  and  are  found  also  throughout  the 
winter.  They  lie  on  the  beaches  or  in  wallows  amongst  the  clumps 
of  tussock  grass.  The  smell  from  them  is  unpleasant  and  unmis- 
takable. The  bulls,  except  in  the  rutting  season,  usually  remain 
apart  from  the  cows,  which  collect,  together  with  their  young, 
into  harems  numbering  from  fifteen  to  fifty.  The  flippers, 
though  short,  are  wonderfully  flexible,  and  have  curious  little 
rudimentary  fingers  with  which  they  scratch  themselves  in 
what  is,  at  times,  a  ludicrously  human  way.  They  are  fond 
of  heaping  sand  upon  themselves.  When  approached  they  make 
a  curious  windy  roaring  noise,  and  they  may  often  be  heard 
trumpeting  from  their  wallows.  Wilkins,  in  crossing  the  island, 
saw  a  sea-elephant  track  which  led  the  whole  way  over.  It  was 
in  soft  snow  and  was  unmistakable.  Many  other  tracks  went  for 
a  mile  or  so  inland,  but  turned  and  came  back  to  the  beach  from 
which  they  started,  and  only  one  was  found  to  cross  all  the  way. 
Weddell  Seals  come  ashore  in  numbers,  and  also  occasional 

The  managers  of  the  whaling  stations  reported  that  whales 
were  plentiful  during  the  height  of  the  season  (1921-22),  though, 
as  was  to  be  expected,  the  numbers  fell  off  with  the  onset  of 
winter.  The  most  numerous  were  humpback  and  blue  whales, 
and  a  few  sperm  and  sei-whales  were  caught.  The  return  of  the 
humpback  is  interesting,  for  in  the  early  days  of  the  whaling 
industry  in  1904  and  for  several  years  afterwards  this  species 
formed  the  bulk  of  the  catch  (over  90  per  cent).  The  numbers 
fell  off  rapidly,  till  in  19 12- 13  they  formed  38  per  cent.  ;  in 
1915-16,  12  per  cent.  ;  and  in  1917-18,  only  2.5  per  cent.  It  was 
generally  considered  and  admitted  by  many  of  the  whalers  that 
the  decline  was  due  to  ruthless  hunting,  but  the  explanation  seems 
to  lie  in  the  distribution  and  drift  of  food  supply.  For  a 
fuller  description  of  South  Atlantic  whales  and  whaHng,  readers 
are  referred  to  Appendix  I  of  "South,"  by  Robert  S.  Clark, 
M.A.,  B.Sc. 

During  our  second  visit  to  South  Georgia  Mr.  Hansen,  the 
manager  of  Leith  Harbour  Whaling  Station,  showed  us  a  porpoise 
which  had  leapt  ashore.  It  was  coloured  bluey  black  and  dirty 
white;  total  length,  531^  inches;  tip  of  nose  to  blowhole,  6  inches; 

334  Appendix 

tip  of  nose  to  dorsal  fin,  17^  inches;  tip  of  nose  to  flippers, 
9  inches.  It  has  been  provisionally  determined  as  Phocaena 

Small  shore-life  in  South  Georgia  comprises  flies,  found  along 
the  beaches  and  breeding  in  the  semi-rotting  seaweed  cast  up  by 
the  tide;  several  forms  of  spiders,  beetles  [Hydromedion)^  mites 
{Bdella)^  tiny  jumping  flies,  and  an  earth  worm  (Acanthrodilus). 

Vegetation  ashore  is  very  scarce,  the  only  grass  which  grows 
in  evident  quantity  being  the  tussock  grass  [Poa  flabellata).  The 
naturalist  was  able  to  collect  specimens  of  plants  referable  to  six- 
teen species,  but  many  of  them  were  marine  algae. 

Seventeen  reindeer  which  were  brought  to  the  island  in  the 
years  191 1  and  1912  have  increased  and  multiplied  to  such  an 
extent  that  there  were  about  250  when  we  were  there,  and  this 
notwithstanding  the  fact  that  the  whalers  have  periodically  killed 
numbers  for  food.  Wilkins  examined  the  stomachs  of  some  that 
were  killed,  and  found  them  normal  in  size,  not  distended,  as 
usually  happens  when  the  food  is  of  poor  quality. 

The  Quest  left  South  Georgia  on  January  i8th,  1922.  A  few 
miles  out  from  the  coast  we  passed  thousands  of  whale  birds  {Prion) 
feeding  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  probably  upon  crustaceae, 
which  were  so  plentiful  that  the  sea  was  highly  coloured.  Cape 
pigeons,  Wilson  petrels,  sooty  albatross  and  a  number  of  molly- 
mauks  came  about  the  ship,  but  wandering  albatross  were  con- 
spicuously absent  at  this  stage.  On  the  second  day  we  met  snow 
petrels  {Pagodroma  nivea)^  which  remained  intermittently  with  us 
till  our  return  to  South  Georgia. 

On  January  20th  we  visited  Zavodovski  Island.  The  slopes 
were  covered  with  Ringed  penguins,  and  the  beaches  under  the 
glaciers  were  occupied  by  a  number  of  King  penguins.  Fumes 
were  issuing  from  caves  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  island,  and  it 
was  noticed  that  the  penguins  kept  clear  of  them.  Many  Giant 
petrels  flew  round  the  ship,  and  a  number  were  seen  resting  ashore. 
Cape  pigeons,  Wilson  petrels  and  a  blue  petrel  were  noticed  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  island.  As  we  turned  farther  south  prions  became 
more  scarce,  but  Wilson  petrels  and  Cape  pigeons  kept  up  in 
numbers.  The  light-mantled  sooty  albatross  seen  in  these  areas 
was  conspicuously  light-phased,  and  became  markedly  so  in  the 
more  southern  latitudes.  Silver-grey  petrels  {Priocella  glacialoides) 
were  first  seen  in  lat.  57°  S.  and  15°  E.  long.  They  were  observed 
throughout  the  voyage  till  we  returned  to  South  Georgia,  where 
the  naturalist  obtained  some  specimens. 

In  lat.  58°  S.  we  met  the  Antarctic  petrel  (Thalassoeca  ant- 
arctica).  They  occurred  in  groups  of  ten  or  fifteen,  but  never  in 
large  numbers,  as  seen  in  the  Ross  Sea.  In  this  latitude  also  an 
occasional  Sooty  petrel  (Oestrelata  macroptera)  was  seen,  and  a 
species  of  whale  bird,   classed  temporarily  by  the  naturalist  as 

Appendix  335 

Prion  desolatus.  We  saw  a  Cape  hen  in  lat.  61°  S.,  and  a  Giant 
petrel  after  we  had  crossed  the  circle;  the  latter  is  very  rare  in 
the  Antarctic  proper.  One  of  the  latter  seen  in  67*^  S.  had  a  very 
white  phase. 

In  lat.  68°  S.  Arctic  terns  were  noticed.  Some  of  them  were 
already  (on  February  8th)  beginningf  to  change  their  plumage,  the 
dark  cap    in    many    cases    being   streaked   with    grey.     Emperor 
Penguins  (Aptenodytes  Forsteri)  were  seen  in  numbers  south  of 
lat.  67°  S.,  but,  taken  on  the  whole,  were  not  common  through- 
out the  trip.    They  are  the  "farthest  south"  penguins.     Numbers 
of  cheery  Httle  Adelies  were  seen  in  greatest  numbers  near  "Ross's 
Appearance  of  Land."     Crab-eater  Seals  {Lobodon  carcinophagus) 
were  seen  in  large  numbers  about  the  pack  edge,   especially   in 
those  parts  where  the  ice  showed  marked   diatomaceous  bands. 
Often  as  many  as  a  dozen  of  these  seals  were  seen  on  a  single 
small   floe   heaving   up  and   down   on   the   swell.      Killer  whales 
were   present    in    numbers    at    the    time    we    were   in    the    pack, 
and   were  frequently  seen  in  the  open  leads.     The  Crab-eaters, 
on   the  other  hand,   seemed   to   avoid   the   larger   leads   of  open 
water.     On  February  13th  we  had  occasion  to  kill  a  number  of 
Crab-eaters,  when  each  female  was  found   to  be  pregnant,   the 
foetus  varying  in  length  from  one  to  three  inches.     Sea-leopards 
were  seen,  but  were  rare. 

We  visited  Elephant  Island  on  March  28th,  and  effected  land- 
ings at  Cape  Lookout  and  on  a  narrow  beach  at  the  western  end 
of  the  northern  coast.  Animal  life  is  scarce,  and  plants  are  con- 
fined to  a  lichen,  which  grows  on  some  of  the  rocks  on  the  sides 
facing  north,  and  a  species  of  moss.  The  bird  life  consists  of  Gentoo, 
Ringed  and  Rockhopper  penguins,  the  latter  being  very  scarce ; 
seabirds,  including  Cape  pigeons.  Skua  gulls,  Dominican  gulls, 
Blue-eyed  shags  (all  of  them  plentiful),  and  Molly mauks  and  Giant 
petrels  (more  rare).  The  Paddy,  or  Sheathbill  {Chionis  alha)^  is 

The  Ringed  penguins  made  their  rookeries  on  steep  rock-faces 
clo'se  to  the  sea,  and  spent  many  patient  hours  in  climbing  up  and 
down  from  their  positions,  hopping  carefully  from  ledge  to  ledge. 
The  Gentoos  selected  easier  slopes.  Rarely  a  Gentoo  was  found  in 
a  Ringed  rookery,  but  Ringed  were  found  fairly  frequently  among 
the  Gentoos.  The  Paddies  haunted  the  rookeries,  their  food  being 
obtained  largely  from  the  excreta  of  penguins,  from  which  they 
pick  small  round  worms  or  nematodes,  with  which  the  penguins 
are  infested.  The  stomach  and  intestines  of  the  Paddies  themselves 
are  wonderfully  free  from  parasites.  They  eat  readily  of  any  offal 
which  may  be  lying  about.  Those  which  remained  during  the 
winter  were  very  thin,  due  to  the  departure  of  the  majority  of 
penguins.  Numerous  seals  and  sea-elephants  were  lying  on  the 
beaches.     On  the  rocks  are  dark-shelled  limpets  (Patella  polaris), 

336  Appendix 

which  never  come  above  low-water  mark;  no  doubt  they  would 
freeze  to  death  in  the  colder  air. 

We  returned  to  South  Georgia  on  April  6th,  and  left  for 
Tristan  da  Cunha  on  May  9th.  During  the  voyage  we  saw 
Wandering  Albatross,  two  Sooty  Albatross  (P.  palpehrata  and  P. 
fusca)y  mollymauks,  Silver-Grey  petrels  (Priocella  glacialoides)^ 
Wilson  petrels,  Giant  petrels,  Diving  petrels,  several  varieties  of 
prions.  Cape  hens,  Cape  pigeons,  Terns,  Skua  gulls  and  Shear- 
waters. As  we  neared  Tristan  da  Cunha  we  lost  Phoehetria  palpe- 
hrata, and  the  only  kind  of  Sooty  Albatross  seen  was  P.  fusca. 
The  islands  of  the  Tristan  da  Cunha  group  are  so  close  together 
that  the  animal  life  is  similar  to  them  all.  The  naturalist  found 
eggs  of  the  following  :  The  yellow  billed  moUymauk  {ThalassO' 
geron  chlororynchus),  greater  Shearwater  (Puffinus  gravis),  Rock- 
hopper  Penguin  {Eudyptes  chrysocome)  and  Catharacta  antarctica. 
The  evidence  of  the  islanders  regarding  the  bird  life  of  the  islands 
is  as  follows  (birds  are  recognized  by  general  description  and 
plates)  :  Wandering  Albatross  used  to  breed  on  Tristan,  but  now 
only  found  rarely  on  Inaccessible  Island.  Sooty  Albatross  (P. 
fusca)  nests  in  August.  Young  birds  leave  the  nest  in  April  (the 
young  of  P.  palpehrata  were  hatched  on  January  15th  at  South 

Yellow-nosed  mollymauks  (T.  chlororynchus)  nest  in  August. 
Young  birds  leave  the  nest  in  April  (the  young  of  T.  chrysostoma 
were  hatched  on  January  ist  in  South  Georgia). 

Oestrelata  macroptera  moults  in  May,  lays  in  July. 

Oestrelata  mollis  lays  in  November. 

Pachyptila  vittata  Keyteli  lays  in  September. 

Priofinus  cinereus  lays  in  May  and  June. 

Sterna  vittata  lays  in  November. 

Stercorarius  antarcticus  lays  in  August. 

Anous  stolidus  arrives  in  September,  lays  in  November,  but 
goes  away  for  the  winter. 

Eudyptes  chrysocome  moults  and  leaves  the  island  in  March, 
comes  again  in  August,  and  lays  in  September. 

A  thrush  {Nesocichla  eremita)  and  a  finch  {N esospiza  acunhae) 
are  found  on  Inaccessible  Island,  but  seem  to  have  left  Tristan. 

Wilson  petrels,  Cape  hens,  Cape  pigeons  and  gulls  are  not 
often  seen  and  do  not  nest  on  the  island.  A  diving  petrel  is 
frequently  seen,  but  no  eggs  have  been  found.  With  regard  to 
sea-life,  fish  abound  in  plenty  in  the  kelp  about  the  island.  The 
naturalist  had  little  opportunity  for  a  collection  of  specimens. 
The  following  is  the  list  given  by  Mrs.  K.  M.  Barrow,  who  spent 
three  years  on  the  island  :  * 

Blue-fish,  Snoek  (Thyrsites  atun),  Mackerel  (Scomber  colias), 
Five  finger  (Chilodactylus  fasciatus  Lac),  Soldier-fish,  Craw-fish 
*  "  Three  Years  on  Tristan  da  Cunha,"  by  K.  M.  Barrow. 

Appendix  337 

and  Klip-fish.  The  southern  blue  whale  is  occasionally  seen,  as 
are  also  seals  and  sea-elephants.  Sharks  are  common,  and  several 
were  caught  from  the  ship  whilst  lying  off  Nightingale  and 
Inaccessible  Islands. 

We  arrived  at  Gough  Island  on  May  27th.  At  first  sight  it 
appears  as  a  green  island  clothed  in  verdure.  As  we  approached 
the  western  side  we  saw  a  number  of  birds,  prions,  wandering 
albatross,  moUymauks,  a  diving  petrel,  skua  gulls  and  terns. 
Both  Phoehetria  cornicoides  and  P.  fusca  were  seen.  After  round- 
ing south-west  and  south  points  few  birds  were  seen  except  skua 
gulls  and  terns,  and  they  were  not  common.  No  albatross  were 
seen  on  the  eastern  side  during  the  whole  of  our  visit.  Just  after 
passing  south-east  point  Wilkins  saw  what  he  thought  was  a 
noddy  tern  {Anous  stolidus),  which  was  previously  reported  as 
visiting  the  island.  Immediately  on  landing  on  the  Glen  beach 
buntings  {Nesospiza  goughensis)  came  tamely  about,  but  did  not 
let  themselves  be  caught  by  hand.  Numbers  were  seen  feeding  on 
flies,  which  swarmed  in  the  decaying  seaweed,  and  also  inland, 
where  they  were  seen  on  the  stems  of  tussock  grass  or  clinging  to 
the  branches  of  the  tea  plant  [Chenopodium  tomentosum).  They 
were  found  everywhere  up  to  the  level  of  the  thicker  vegetation, 
which  ends  at  about  2,000  feet.  There  are  two  types :  one,  black- 
throated  and  mouse-coloured ;  the  other,  light  and  dark  brown, 
with  yellowish  markings.  They  were  feeding  together,  and  seen 
to  be  in  about  equal  numbers  and  of  equal  size. 

On  every  part  of  the  island  visited  the  sharp  "Chuck  !  chuck  !  " 
of  water  hens  could  be  heard,  and  several  were  shot  for  specimens. 
They  were  shy,  and  at  sight  of  man  hastened  in  amongst  the 
tussock  grass,  where  it  was  impossible  to  see  them.  The  frontal 
shield  is  bright  red ;  bill  and  feet,  bright  yellow ;  plumage,  black 
and  cinnamon.  All  parts  of  the  Glen  which  gave  a  sufficient  depth 
of  earth  and  which  were  not  overgrown  with  trees  were  honey- 
combed with  the  burrows  of  different  kinds  of  petrels.  They  did 
not  come  out  by  daylight,  but  their  croaking  frequently  betrayed 
them,  and  in  this  way  several  specimens  were  added  to  the  collec- 
tion, These  included  Priofinus  cinereus  and  broad-billed  prions 
{Pachyptila  vittata  Keyteli).  At  night  a  large  fire  was  lighted  on 
the  beach,  and  several  specimens  were  shot  as  they  flew  inwards 
through  the  light.  Some  of  them  fell  into  the  tussock  grass,  and 
in  the  dark  could  not  be  found.  In  the  morning,  when  taken  up, 
they  were  seen  to  have  been  almost  entirely  picked  to  pieces  and 
eaten  by  mice,  which  swarmed  in  large  numbers  at  the  foot  of 
the  Glen.  These  mice  are  the  ordinary  Mus  musculus,  and  were 
no  doubt  introduced  by  earlier  landing  parties.  On  several  parts 
of  the  island  were  large  penguin  rookeries,  deserted  at  this  time 
of  year  except  for  a  few  straggling  Rockhoppers  {Eudyptes  chryso- 
come).     The   thrush,    common   on    Nightingale   and   Inaccessible 


338  Appendix 

Islands,  was  not  seen  at  all  on  Gough  Island.  No  albatross  or 
moUymauk  nests  were  seen,  but  there  might  have  been  some  on 
the  north-west  side,  which  is  the  most  exposed  to  the  winds,  and 
thus  most  likely  to  be  selected  by  these  birds. 

The  collection  of  birds  from  Gough  Island  numbered  over  fifty 
specimens,  referable  to  nine  species  : 

Garrodia  Nereis  Chuhhi  (Matthews),  which  was  shot  as  it  flew 
over  the  light  of  the  camp  fire. 

Priofinus  cinereus,  found  in  burrows  on  the  hill. 

Oestrelata  mollis  (Gould),  found  in  burrows  near  the  beach. 
Their  croakings  could  be  heard  all  night. 

Pachyptila  vittata  Keyteli  (Matthews),  found  as  above.  From 
the  noise  they  were  making  there  must  have  been  many  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  camp. 

Stercorarius  antarcticus  (Lesson).  Skuas  were  not  common, 
and  only  about  twenty  were  seen  during  the  visit. 

Sterna  vittata  (Reich).  Many  terns  were  seen,  both  in  adult 
and  juvenile  plumage. 

Nesospiza  Goughensis  (Eagle  Clarke).  Birds  of  this  type  were 
brought  back  by  the  Scotia  and  described  by  Eagle  Clarke,  Orn. 
Report  Scottish  Nat.  Antarctic  Expedition.  They  have  been  classed 
as  two  species,  but  from  examination  of  the  twenty-eight  specimens 
in  the  Quest  collection  it  is  thought  that  these  birds  are  of  one 
species,  and  the  difference  in  plumage  can  be  accounted  for  by  age. 
(N.B.     See  paper  by  Mr.  P.  R.  Lowe,  M.B.O.U.) 

Gallinula  or  Porphyriornis  Comeri  (Allen).  This  water-hen  is 
common  on  Gough  Island,  but  is  not  seen  on  Tristan  da  Cunha. 
Some  of  the  islanders  say  they  have  seen  it  on  the  western  side 
of   Inaccessible  Island. 

Eudyptes  chrysocome.     Only  two  or  three  were  seen. 

Gough  Island  gives  an  impression  from  the  sea  of  almost 
tropical  greenness,  and  on  landing  at  the  Glen  one  has  much  the 
same  impression,  for  the  slopes  and  hillsides  are  thickly  covered 
with  vegetation.  Trees,  tree  ferns  and  tussock  grass  are  most 
abundant,  whilst  the  rocks  and  cliff  faces  are  covered  with  mosses 
and  lichens.  The  trees  are  the  Island  Tree  (Phylica  nitida).  An 
interesting  discovery  was  made  by  the  geologist  of  a  grove  of 
trees  of  a  different  sort.  They  were  in  the  "little  glen"  on  the 
southern  side  of  Archway  Rock,  and  he  describes  them  as  "grow- 
ing as  if  planted  in  an  orchard,"  reaching  a  height  of  four  to 
five  metres  and  spreading  to  four  metres  or  more.  It  has  since 
been  identified  as  a  variety  of  Sophora  tetraptera  J.  Mull,  var.  nov. 
Goughensis.  About  the  beach  there  is  a  luxuriant  growth  of  dock 
{Riimex  fructescens  and  Rtitnex  Ohtusifolius).  There  was  also  a 
wild  celery,  which  was  found  by  comparison  to  differ  considerably 
from  the  type  species  from  Tristan  da  Cunha  (Thouars  Fl.  Trist.  p. 
43  Apium  Australe).    This  plant  was  also  collected  by  the  Scotia, 

Appendix  339 

and  after  an  examination  of  the  specimens,  as  well  as  those  from 
the  Quest,  it  has  been  decided  to  name  it  as  a  new  species,  Apium 
Goughensis.  In  the  sheltered  parts  of  the  cliffs  were  several 
varieties  of  maidenhair  fern  (Adiantum  aethiopicum) ;  mosses  and 
lichens  were  everywhere.  On  the  flat  ground  bordering  the  beach 
grew  a  thick  covering  of  grasses,  mostly  dwarfed  Scirpus  sp., 
with  here  and  there  some  bunches  of  Agrostis  ramulosa.  Thistles 
and  Gnaphalium  grew  rankly  near  the  edge  of  the  penguin 
rookeries.  The  wild  tea  plant  (Chenopodium  tomentosum) 
flourished  luxuriantly.  The  small  Hydrocotyle  (most  probably 
leucophalica),  though  dwarfed  by  its  environment,  was  noticed  by 
its  distinctive  leaf.  The  thicker  vegetation  grew  to  a  level  of  about 
2,000  feet,  when  most  of  it  ceased.  At  this  level  the  cranberry  in 
its  southern  temperate  form  {Empetrum  nigrum  var.  ruhrum) 
grows  abundantly.  At  this  season  of  the  year  (June  ist)  it  was 
loaded  with  bright  red  fruit.  Lycopodium  was  found  by  the 
naturalist  at  the  highest  level  attained  by  him,  but  in  a  dwarfed 
condition.  Agrostis  ramulosa  and  A.  media  seemed  to  thrive  at 
higher  levels.  Cotula  Goughensis,  a  new  species  described  by 
Dr.  Rudmose  Brown  of  the  Scotia,  which  grows  to  a  height  of 
30  cm.  near  the  beach,  is  dwarfed  to  5  or  6  cm.  on  the  higher 
slopes.  Only  closely  related  forms  were  noticed  at  the  higher 
levels,  but  a  longer  period  ashore  and  a  more  careful  and 
prolonged  search  at  these  levels  might  produce  something  new. 
In  all  thirty  specimens  referable  to  nineteen  species  were  col- 
lected. Of  these,  three  were  not  in  the  collection  made  by  the 
naturalists  of  the  Scotia,  but  they  collected  several  species  not 
collected  by  us.  Two  of  the  new  specimens  are  of  plants  common 
to  the  Tristan  da  Cunha  group.  Sophora  tetraptera  had  not  been 
previously  collected,  though  Mr.  Comer,  who'  was  amongst  one 
of  the  earliest  parties  to  visit  the  island,  described  two  different 
types  of  trees.  The  members  of  the  Scotia,  whose  visit,  owing  to 
bad  weather,  was  very  hurried,  not  finding  the  second  tree,  decided 
that  the  tree  fern  (Lomaria  horyana)  was  meant. 

We  left  Gough  Island  for  Cape  Town  on  June  ist.  We  saw 
several  kinds  of  petrels.  Wandering  albatross.  Cape  pigeons, 
many  shearwaters  (Puffinus  gravis  and  Priofinus  cinereus)^  and  two 
species  of  mollymauk,  black-browed  and  yellow-nosed,  in  juvenile 
plumage  with  a  showing  of  grey  under  the  throat,  were  observed. 
Several  attempts  were  made  to  catch  a  specimen  with  a  grey 
marking  on  the  throat,  but  without  success.  It  appeared  to 
resemble  the  mollymauk  described  by  Dr.  Harvey  Pirie  and  Mr. 
Eagle  Clarke,  but  identification  was  impossible  whilst  it  was  on 
the  wing.  Several  dark-brown  petrels,  probably  Oestrelata  mac- 
roptera,  were  seen.  A  number  of  Sooty  albatross  which  came 
about  the  ship  had  white  spots  on  the  head  and  shoulder.  Attempts 
were  made  to  hook  one  with  a  fishing  line,  but  failed.     As  we 

340  Appendix 

approached  South  Africa  albatross  of  a  darker  phase  and  a  number 
of  mollymauks  with  dark-grey  heads  and  throats  were  seen,  prob- 
ably the  young  of  Thalassogeron  chlororynchus.  Nearer  land 
many  gannets  were  noticed  diving  into  the  sea. 

This  report*  cannot  be  regarded  as  an  exhaustive  account  of 
the  natural  history  work  of  the  expedition,  being  merely  a  r6sum6 
of  the  naturalist's  provisional  report.  Much  work  still  requires  to 
be  done  before  the  full  value  of  the  collections  can  be  esti- 
mated. The  collection,  especially  of  birds,  is  a  large  one,  and  has 
added  considerably  to  the  material  already  available  in  the 
museums.  Several  new  species  and  varieties  have  been  provision- 
ally determined.  Throughout  the  whole  period  of  the  expedition 
conditions  were  never  favourable  for  natural  history  work,  and 
change  of  plan  compelled  that  many  of  the  parts  should  be  visited 
in  mid-winter  instead  of  in  summer,  with  consequent  disadvantages 
as  regards  weather  and  landing  facilities.  The  amount  of  mate- 
rial brought  home  reflects  great  credit  on  Captain  Wilkins  as  a 
collector  and  on  his  assistants. 

KoTE. — At  the  time  of  going  to  press  I  learn  that  one  of  the  buntings 
taken  from  Inaccessible  and  Nightingale  Islands  has  been  determined  as  a 
new  species,  and  that  the  larger  Gough  Island  finch  is  a  new  genus.  The 
latter  is  being  named  Rowettia,  after  Mr.  Rowett. 



J.  A.  McIlroy,  M.R.C.S.,  L.R.C.P.,  and  L.  D.  A.  Hussev,  B.Sc. 

Meteorological  observations  made  at  one  single  station  are  of 
little  value  by  themselves.  Their  full  value  lies  in  the  possibility 
of  their  being  correlated  with  observations  made  contempora- 
neously at  other  stations  in  neighbouring  parts  of  the  world. 
Particularly  is  this  so  where  the  station  is  a  moving  one,  as  in  the 
case  of  the  Quest.  Consequently  no  attempt  can  be  made  here  to 
draw  any  general  conclusions  from  the  observations  which  were 
made  on  the  voyage. 

The  complete  meteorological  logs  have  been  handed  over  to 
the  Marine  Meteorological  Section  of  the  Air  Ministry,  as,  with 
all  the  material  that  they  can  collect  from  ships  all  over  the  world, 
that  body  is  in  a  position  to  make  the  best  use  of  our  results. 

At  the  outset  of  the  expedition  the  Air  Ministry  very  kindly 
gave  us  every  assistance,  and  lent  us  a  great  deal  of  apparatus 
and  many  instruments  on  the  understanding  that  they  would  be 
allowed  to  use  the  information  that  we  gathered.      This  arrange- 

*  A  complete  and  interesting  report  has  been  received  at  the  last  moment 
from  Capt.  Wilkins,  too  late  to  go  to  press.  It  is  hoped  that  this  will  be 
published  separately  at  an  early  date. — Author. 

fhoto  :  IVilkins 



Fhoto:   Wilkins 

Photo:  Dr.  Macklin 

Appendix  341 

ment  has  been  carried  out,  and  we  hope  that  among  the  many 
scientific  results  of  the  expedition  we  have  been  able  to  add  one 
link  to  the  chain  of  observations  which  is  being  made  daily  all 
round  the  world,  and  so  we  may  have  justified  our  existence. 
The  instruments  used  consisted  of  the  following  : 

(a)  Two  standard  ships'  screens,  in  each  of  which  were  a 
wet  and  dry  bulb  thermometer.  These  were  placed  one  on  each 
side  of  the  bridge,  well  exposed  and  as  far  as  possible  away  from 
any  draughts  and  convection  currents  from  galley  and  engine- 
room.  The  readings  were  taken  from  the  screen  on  the  weather  side. 

(b)  A  marine-pattern  mercury  barometer,  hung  in  the  gyro- 
scope-compass room,  which  was  also  used  to  check  the  ship's 
aneroid  which  was  placed  in  the  wheel-house. 

(c)  A  barograph,  which  was,  however,  of  little  use  owing  to 
the  bad  weather  that  we  experienced  and  the  continual  rolling 
and  pitching  of  the  ship. 

(d)  Several  sea  thermometers  and  hydrometers  for  surface  work. 

(e)  Various  equipment,  such  as  kites,  balloons  and  meteoro- 
graphs, which  were  taken  for  experimental  purposes. 

Complete  observations  were  taken  every  four  hours  of  air 
and  sea  temperatures,  humidity,  pressure,  wind,  direction  and 
form  of  clouds,  etc.,  in  the  usual  ship's  meteorological  log. 

Except  when  the  ship  was  in  port,  where  permanent  stations 
existed,  these  observations  were  carried  out  continuously  during 
the  whole  of  the  voyage,  making  roughly  about  two  thousand 
odd  sets  of  observations  in  all. 

Although  no  general  conclusion  can  yet  be  drawn  from  these 
observations,  a  general  summary  of  the  weather  conditions 
experienced  by  the  Quest  may  be  of  interest. 

As  far  as  actual  wind  force  is  concerned,  the  first  part  of  the 
journey,  to  Lisbon,  was  uneventful,  except  for  a  short  but  heavy 
gale  when  off  the  Bay  of  Biscay.  This  gale  lasted  at  its  height 
for  about  eight  hours,  after  which  it  gradually  eased  off.  It  was 
accompanied  by  a  sudden  very  marked  fall  in  the  barometer, 
but  no  corresponding  change  in  the  wind,  which  was  blowing  from 
the  south  all  the  time. 

The  day  after  leaving  Lisbon,  when  well  out  to  sea,  a  large 
waterspout  was  observed  only  about  a  mile  away  westward. 

From  now  onwards,  until  after  leaving  St.  Vincent,  the  wind 
was  steady  but  weak,  never  once  approaching  gale  force.  The 
north-east  Trades,  even,  almost  failed  us,  and  were  of  very  little 
assistance  indeed. 

This  state  of  affairs  continued  till  we  reached  Rio  de  Janeiro, 
and  it  was  after  leaving  this  port  on  December  i8th,  1921,  that 
our  troubles  from  the  weather  commenced. 

Two  days  before  Christmas,  192 1,  a  very  calm  sea  and  still, 
damp  air,  with  the  horizon  obscured,  gave  us  fears  for  the  future. 

342  Appendix 

That  these  were  only  too  well  founded  was  proved  next  day, 
when,  with  a  steadily  falling  barometer  and  an  equally  steadily 
rising  sea,  the  wind  increased  from  the  south.  The  sky  became 
overcast  and  intense  squalls  followed  each  other  in  rapid  succession. 
Conditions  became  worse  during  the  next  three  days,  and  on  the  fol- 
lowing two  days,  December  29th  and  30th,  the  wind  blew  with  hur- 
ricane force.  Huge  seas  threatened  to  swamp  the  ship,  the  helm 
was  lashed,  and  everyone  except  Sir  Ernest  and  Captain  Wild  were 
sent  below.  Sir  Ernest  said  that  never  in  all  his  life  had  he  seen 
such  mountainous  seas.  Oil-bags  were  hung  out,  and  we  ran  before 
the  storm.  On  the  fifth  day  conditions  seemed  to  improve,  but  it 
was  only  a  temporary  lull,  and  a  storm  of  equal  violence  succeeded 
this,  lasting  for  two  days.  This  gale  lasted  in  all  over  seven 
days,  and  during  most  of  this  time  it  was  rarely  possible  to  cook 
a  proper  meal  or,  indeed,  keep  one's  balance  on  deck  at  all;  and 
the  mere  taking  of  the  observations  under  these  circumstances 
entailed  a  pretty  thorough  soaking.  Fortunately  a  barographic 
curve  was  obtained  during  the  whole  of  this  storm,  and  it  shows 
in  a  striking  way  the  sudden  rapid  fall  in  atmospheric  pressure 
which  occurred  during  this  time. 

There  was  not  a  dry  spot  left  on  the  ship,  and  the  hydrograph 
and  maximum  and  minimum  thermometers  were  encrusted  with 
salt  from  the  seas,  which  even  washed  over  the  upper  bridge 
where  these  instruments  were  placed. 

January,  1922,  gave  promise  of  fair  weather,  and  as  far  as  wind 
was  concerned  that  promise  was  fulfilled.  The  voyage  from  South 
Georgia  down  to  the  pack  was  marked  by  one  or  two  gales  of 
moderate  severity,  with  the  sky  almost  continuously  overcast. 
Close,  heavy  pack  seemed  nearly  always  associated  with  fine,  clear 
weather  and  southerly  winds,  while  the  reverse  obtained  as  the 
wind  veered  to  the  opposite  direction.  When  actually  frozen  in 
and  drifting  with  the  pack  the  weather  was  generally  fine. 

The  lowest  temperature  experienced  was  6°F.  on  March  15th 
in  latitude  63°  45'  S.  and  longitude  45°  12'  W.,  and  again  on 
March  i6th  and  17th  in  about  the  same  position.  At  these  tem- 
peratures— 26°  below  freezing — the  water  round  the  wet-bulb  was 
frozen,  and  so  dry-bulb  readings  alone  were  obtainable. 

From  this  time  onwards  gales  generally  from  the  south  were 
of  much  more  frequent  occurrence  than  fine  weather  or  even 
moderate  winds,  and  Elephant  Island  lived  up  to  its  evil  reputa- 
tion by  being  the  centre  of  such  bad  weather  as  to  make  landing 
extremely  dangerous. 

From  South  Georgia  to  Tristan  da  Cunha — May  8th  to 
May  19th — the  journey  was  marked  by  such  bad  weather  that 
winds  of  under  gale  force  occurred  on  less  than  half  a  dozen 
occasions  only.  This  can  to  some  extent  be  accounted  for  by  the 
lateness  of  the  season  and  the  approach  of  mid-winter. 

Appendix  343 

With  the  exception  of  one  sharp  gale,  the  weather  experienced 
round  Gough  Island  was  a  considerable  improvement  on  that 
which  had  been  our  almost  daily  lot  for  the  previous  two  months. 

Our  stay  at  Tristan  was  not  long  enough  for  us  to  collect 
information  as  to  general  weather  conditions  on  the  island,  but 
the  padre  who  is  now  there,  and  who  is  erecting  a  meteorological 
station,  will  doubtless  supply  a  useful  series  of  observations. 

From  Gough  Island  to  Cape  Town — June  2nd  to  June  i8th, 
1922 — similar  weather  was  experienced,  only  about  four  days  not 
showing  gales.  Slight,  but  very  slight,  improvement  in  weather 
conditions  occurred  on  the  way  up  to  Ascension  from  the  Cape, 
but  from  thence  onwards  much  finer  weather  was  cur  lot  till  we 
were  two  days  off  England,  when  another  gale  welcomed  us  home. 

As  we  made  clear  at  first,  this  memorandum  is  not  intended  to 
be  a  compleiie  and  detailed  dissection  and  analysis  of  the  two  thou- 
sand odd  series  of  observations  that  were  made  during  the  voyage, 
but  only  to  indicate  how  bad  weather  handicapped  all  our  efforts 
in  the  southern  hemisphere. 

If,  when  these  results  come,  in  the  course  of  time,  to  be 
considered  in  conjunction  with  others  made  in  those  parts,  we 
shall  have  added  our  little  bit  to  the  present  very  meagre  know- 
ledge of  weather  conditions  there,  we  shall  feel  satisfied.  For 
every  addition  to  our  knowledge  of  regional  meteorology  con- 
tributes to  our  knowledge  of  meteorology  in  general,  and  so  helps 
us  to  understand  the  many  perplexing  problems  which  meteorolo- 
gists all  the  world  over  are  up  against. 

In  conclusion,  a  word  of  thanks  is  due  to  Captain  Brooke- 
Smith  and  Commander  Hennessey  of  the  Meteorological  Section 
of  the  Air  Ministry,  for  much  valuable  advice  and  assistance,  both 
before  we  sailed  and  after  our  return  home. 



The  following  is  a  brief  account  of  the  hydrographic  work  carried 
out  hy  Commander  Worsley,  R.N.R.,  assisted  by  Lieut- 
Commander  Jeffery,  R.N.R.,  J.  Dell,  P.O.,  R.N.,  and 
Captain  G.  V.  Douglas. 

The  hydrographic  equipment  consisted,  besides  sextants,  theodo- 
lites, chronometers  and  compasses,  of  three  sounding  machines 
— a  Kelvin  and  two  Lucas  machines — a  gyroscope  compass,  two 
rangefinders,  and  a  wireless  set. 

344  Appendix 

The  Kelvin  sounding  machine  has  a  7-stranded  steel  wire 
.35  of  an  inch  in  circumference  and  300  fathoms  long.  It  is 
intended  for  soundings  to  a  depth  of  100  fathoms,  for  which 
purpose  thin  glass  tubes  of  chemicals  are  provided  which  record 
the  pressure  to  that  depth,  but  we  frequently  took  soundings  to 
280  fathoms  by  stopping  the  ship  and  getting  a  perpendicular 

The  Lucas  machine,  which,  in  addition  to  having  been  lent  to 
Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  on  his  different  expeditions  and  supplied 
to  the  French,  German  and  Australian  Antarctic  Expeditions  of 
1908-10  and  191 1  and  also  the  Canadian  Arctic  Expedition  of 
1913,  has  done  the  major  part  of  the  work  of  exploring  the 
profound  depths  of  the  world's  oceans,  and  is,  I  believe,  easily 
the  best  machine  to-day  for  the  work. 

Ours  had  6,000  fathoms  Brunton  wire,  having  a  diameter  of 
028  inches  and  weighing  123  lbs.  per  1,000  fathoms,  with  a 
breaking  strain  of  200  lbs.  We  also  had  a  500-fathom  Lucas, 
suitable  for  boat  work,  and  with  which  I  have  always  hoped  at 
some  time  to  sound,  through  a  crevasse,  for  the  thickness  of  the 
Great  Antarctic  ice  sheet.  Tlie  6,000-fathom  machine  could  also 
be  used  for  kites,  small  balloons  and  other  aerial  work. 

The  Sperry  gyroscope  compass  worked  well  as  far  South  as 
we  went— 69O  13/ — but  the  liveliness  of  the  vessel  made  the  initial 
adjustments  difficult,  and  the  constant  ramming  and  blows  from 
the  ice  threw  it  out  again.  The  new  type  of  mercury  ballistic 
with  which  it  was  fitted  minimized  much  of  the  bad  effects  of  the 
bumping.  Add  to  this  the  small  size  of  the  vessel  not  enabling 
us  to  carry  more  fuel  for  the  actuating  dynamo,  and  the  lateness 
of  the  season  prevented  us  stopping  often  for  the  necessary  time 
to  steady  it  up. 

We  can,  however,  say  from  our  experience  of  it  that  in  a 
slightly  steadier  vessel,  with  more  time  and  dynamo  fuel,  that 
even  in  latitudes  beyond  70°  it  would  be  most  useful  for  quickly 
ascertaining  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needles  and,  in  con- 
junction with  the  rangefinder,  for  quickly  making  a  chart  of  a 
coast  or  islands  which  the  vessel  might  be  passing.  Much  of 
our  survey  of  Gough  Island  was  so  made.  Our  average  time 
taken  to  get  the  gyro  running  correctly  from  the  start  was  about 
six  hours. 

The  65  cm.  Barr  and  Stroud  rangefinder  was  useful  in  giving 
the  distances  to  lay  off  the  bearings  of  the  various  points  in 
survey  work  and,  with  vertical  angles,  obtaining  the  heights  of 
peaks,  islands  and  icebergs. 

The  larger  4  feet  6  inches  rangefinder  was  virtually  useless, 
as  we  could  only  use  it  in  a  completely  land-locked  harbour. 

The  naval  wireless  set,  rotary  spark  transmission  and  con- 
tinuous wave,  lent  us  by  the  Admiralty,  was  particularly  useful 

Appendix  345 

in  giving  us  G.M.T.,  and  so  correct  longitude.  Our  reception 
was  very  good;  we  received,  when  68"^  49'  S.,  time  signals  from 
Rio  Janeiro  at  a  distance  of  3,206  miles.  We  heard  messages 
from  'Frisco  at  a  distance  of  about  8,000  miles  while  in  65*^  S. 
lat.,  and  later  in  lat.  50°  S.  received  time  signals  from  Nauen, 
Germany,  9,000  miles  distant.  The  latitude  appeared  to  be  a 
governing  factor,  as  S.  of  50°  S.  lat.  we  experienced  very  bad 
atmospherics,  while  S.  of  55°  there  appeared  to  be  an  almost 
constant  roar  in  the  receivers,  making  it  impossible  to  read 
signals,  although  they  could  be  often  heard.  There  may  have 
been  more  silent  intervals  than  appeared,  as  we  only  had  one 
operator,  and  being  busy  on  ship's  work  he  only  listened  for 
half  an  hour  at  the  appointed  time  for  the  signals. 

The  greatest  distance  that  we  transmitted  signals  was  about 
400  miles  in  Cape  Colony ;  normally  we  could  get  200  miles.  The 
earth  was  rather  a  problem;  being  a  wooden  ship,  we  fastened 
large  copper  sheets  to  the  ship  under  water,  but  they  were 
repeatedly  torn  loose  when  forcing  our  way  through  the  ice. 

The  wireless  telephone  lent  by  Marconi's  worked  very  well. 
We  spoke  for  a  distance  of  100  miles  with  it  approaching  Rio, 
and  it  was  made  evident  that  on  any  expedition  it  would  be  very 
useful,  its  only  drawback  being  the  loud  roar  made  by  the  engine, 
which  could  be.  silenced  considerably. 

A  new  large-scale  chart  was  made  of  St.  Paul  Rocks  and 
surrounding  submarine  plateau  contained  within  the  hundred- 
fathom  line  on  a  scale  of  200  feet  to  the  inch,  the  Admiralty 
Chart  388  being  on  a  scale  of  2,029  f^^*  ^^  the  inch. 

From  their  small  size  (the  largest  being  380  feet  by  180  feet) 
and  the  probability  that  erosion  is  taking  place,  it  is  doubtful 
if  they  can  ever  be  used  for  an  aerial  station  or  any  other  purpose 
except  a  lighthouse  or  wireless  meteorological  and  directional 

At  South  Georgia  we  carried  out  series  of  over  two  hundred 
soundings  W.,  S.W. ,  N.  and  E.  of  South  Georgia,  discovering 
several  banks,  one  with  apparently  a  fairly  clear  bottom  for 
trawling  in  from  50  to  100  fathoms  from  10  to  30  miles  offshore 
to  the  N.W.,  but  this  area  requires  more  examination  than  we 
had  time  to  give  it.  All  the  other  banks  had  very  irregular 

We  found  no  indication  of  a  bank  at  a  greater  distance  to 
the  N.E.,  as  has  been  reported,  but  the  200-fathom  line  is  much 
father  off  to  the  S.W.  than  was  expected. 

From  whalers'  reports  and  our  soundings  it  would  appear 
that  there  is  a  more  or  less  continuous  bank  to  the  N.  and  N.E. 
of  and  parallel  to  the  island,  with  deeper  water  forming  a  sub- 
marine valley  between.  With  a  limited  examination,  we  found 
the  bottom  to  consist  mainly  of  a  dark  grey  sand,  gravel  and 



stones.  The  whalers  report  that  these  banks  swarm  with  an 
incredible  number  of  very  good  eating  fish,  so  easily  caught  that 
they  can  be  "jigged  "  up  with  no  bait,  but  a  bit  of  bright  metal 
on  the  hook. 

There  is  a  large  Roman  Catholic  population  eight  days'  steam 
away  in  South  America,  and  it  is  possible  that  a  profitable  trawling 
and  fish-curing  industry  could  be  started  here. 

U.»C    CH'flW                                                                                             1 






"               L 

"^  m 



I(y  C«f  FA  V«brOr».1UUtn<  V'  Om^  OO-JtOrrrXHM 

•QUCST'bv*.  1921 

ScaU  of  Yard* 

A  sketch  chart  of  Prinz  Olaf  Harbour  in  Possession  Bay, 
where  Lever  Brothers  have  a  whaling  station,  was  made.  This 
is  the  best  harbour  at  the  west  end  of  South  Georgia. 

Some  additions  to  the  plan  of  Stromness  Bay,  Admiralty 
Chart  No.  3,579,  were  made. 

Soundings  from  Cumberland  Bay  to  Cooper  Island  were  taken. 
The  bottom  here  is  rocky  and  irregular,  with  several  reefs  and 
dangers,  all,  however,  fortunately  marked  by  kelp — the  great 
safeguard  and  aid  to  the  navigation  around  South  Georgia,  except 

Appendix  347 

on  the  south,  south-west  and  west  coasts,  where  icebergs  tear  much 
of  the  kelp  off.  The  kelp  is  useless,  however,  if  steering  towards 
bright  sunlight,  as  the  glare  on  the  water  makes  it  impossible 
to  see  it  soon  enough.  The  ss.  Fridtjof  Nansen  was  so  wrecked 
on  a  reef  7  miles  offshore  near  Cape  George  in  1907;  but  the 
whalers  steam  full  speed  straight  for  the  coast  in  thick  fogs, 
and  being  very  handy  turn  in  almost  their  length  immediately 
they  see  the  kelp,  which  frequently  reaches  to  the  surface  in 
60  fathoms  and  even  deeper  water. 

A  sketch  chart  of  the  passage  inside  Cooper  Island  and  of 
Cooper  Bay  anchorage  for  small  vessels  was  made. 

A  rough  chart  of  Larsen  Harbour,  the  best  harbour  at  the 
S.E.  end  of  South  Georgia,  was  made.  There  is  enough  fiat 
ground  here  to  make  a  small  whaling  station,  and  sufficient  water 
could  be  got  from  the  glacier  streams. 

We  took  new  soundings  in  Royal  Bay  and  across  the  front 
of  the  Great  Glacier,  steaming  along  a  quarter  of  a  mile  inside 
the  line  of  the  glacier  front  of  1902  (Nordenskjold),  but  along  the 
Hne  laid  down  by  the  German  survey  of  1882,  showing  an  advance 
and  then  a  retreat  of  the  glacier  front. 

Lastly,  we  sounded  from  Cooper  Island  out  to  and  east  of 
Gierke  Rocks,  and  obtained  a  bearing  and  sketch  of  Gierke  Rocks 
from  the  hills  at  the  back  of  Cooper  Island. 

A  running  survey  with  soundings  was  made  round  Zavodovski, 
the  northernmost  island  of  the  Sandwich  group,  an  inhospitable 
island,  difficult  or  dangerous  to  land  on,  and  still  more  so  to  gain 
a  way  up  the  cliffs  of  rocks  and  ice  to  the  upland. 

The  peak,  unfortunately,  was  hidden  by  clouds,  and  rio  signs 
of  activity  of  the  volcano  were  seen.  No  outlying  dangers  were 
visible — in  several  places  we  got  20  fathoms  100  yards  from  the 
shore.  On  the  north  side  were  numerous  grounded  bergs, 
indicating  shoal  water.  These  bergs  were  about  40  to  50  feet 
high.  On  the  basis  of  i  fathom  below  water  to  i  foot  above 
they  would  give  a  depth  of  40  to  50  fathoms.  On  the  eastern 
side  we  saw  faint  blue  hazy  smoke  issuing  in  several  places  from 
clefts  and  caves  in  the  cliffs,  and  when  we  got  to  leeward  could 
distinctly  perceive  an  unpleasant  sulphurous  smell.  In  this  con- 
nexion Captain  C.  A.  Larsen,  in  November,  1908,  reported  : 
*' .  .  .  An  active  volcano;  air  poisonous  with  fumes  of  burning 
sulphur;  landing  impossible  owing  to  steep-to  coasts.  .  .  ." 
(Larsen,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  was  ill  for  some  days  as  a  result  of 
breathing  such  fumes  in  one  of  the  group.) 

Two  gently  sloping  uplands  on  the  S.  and  E.  afford  a  breeding 
ground  for  myriads  of  penguins,  who  appear  to  keep  scrupulously 
clear  of  the  fumes  on  the  eastern  side. 

At  Elephant  Island  we  made  a  rough  survey  of  Cape  Lookout 
anchorage  where  we  anchored,   and  took  several  soundings   S. 

348  Appendix 

and  W.  of  Elephant  Island.  We  anchored  at  Cape  Lindsay 
(N.W.  of  island)  and  Seal  Rocks,  taking  bearings  and  soundings. 
None  of  these  anchorages  can  be  described  as  harbours,  and  with 
an  onshore  breeze  they  must  be  left  at  once.  We  steamed  through 
the  intricate  nest  of  rocks  and  reefs  that  stretch  for  over  20  miles 
to  the  west  and  north-west  of  Cape  Lindsay.  This  was  very 
ticklish  navigation,  requiring  a  very  close,  unremitting  watch 
from  the  crow's-nest,  there  being  no  warning  kelp,  the  only  guides 
being  a  brown  discoloration  under  the  water  and  an  occasional 
swirl  of  the  sea. 

The  existence  of  Pagoda  Rock  was  practically  disproved  by  a 
sounding  of  2,902  fathoms  2  miles  east  of  its  reported  position. 
It  can  with  safety  be  expunged  from  the  chart. 

Forty  miles  north-east  of  the  position  assigned  to  Ross's 
appearance  of  land  we  obtained  a  sounding  of  2,446  fathoms 
blue  mud,  and  could  see  no  land  from  the  masthead  with  clear 
weather.  It  seems  improbable,  therefore,  that  it  exists,  unless 
it  is  south  or  west  of  the  position  given,  as  Ross  appears  to 
have  been  working  on  dead  reckoning,  nor  could  it  have  been 
far  in  those  directions  or  we  should  have  found  indications  of  it 
during  our  drift  in  Shackleton's  Expedition   1914-16. 

At  Gough  Island  we  determined  the  position  of  Penguin  Island 
(on  the  east  coast)  to  be  40°  18'  10"  S.  and  9°  54'  o''  W.,  which 
is  2'  22"  S.  and  4'  6"  E.  of  the  latest  Admiralty  Chart,  but  only 
50"  N.  and  2'  o"  E.  of  the  Admiralty's  previous  position.  These 
positions  were  taken  by  a  mean  of  a  number  of  solar  and  stellar 
observations  on  different  days  by  sextant  from  the  ship  and 
bearings  and  rangefinder  distance  to  Penguin  Island,  being  only 
able  to  use  the  northern  and  eastern  horizons. 

Our  chronometers  were  kept  correct  by  W.T.  time  signals. 
(It  would  be  interesting  to  know  if  this  is  the  first  time  that  the 
position  of  an  outlying  island  like  this  has  been  verified  by  W.T. 
time  signals.) 

The  position  of  Glen  Anchorage  was  also  accurately  observed, 
agreeing  with  the  position  by  Captain  Robertson  ss.  Scotia  of 
Bruce's  Scottish  Expedition. 

We  determined  the  position  of  the  anchorage  in  Lot's  Wife's 
Cove,  north  end  of  island,  by  three  observations  for  latitude  and 
one  for  longitude,  surveyed  and  sounded  two  new  anchorages, 
and  sounded  the  southern,  eastern  and  part  of  the  northern 

A  new  chart  of  Gough  Island,  with  large  and  important 
corrections,  on  a  scale  of  1/3643 1  was  made. 

The  highest  point  of  the  island  was  ascertained  with  an 
aneroid  by  Captain  Douglas  to  be  2,915  feet  in  the  centre  of  the 
island,  not  4,380  feet  at  the  northern  part,  as  previously  charted. 
Very  good  fish  were  caught   in   great  abundance   in   the  whole 

Photo:  Wilkins 






group,  and  crayfish  abound,  at  Gough  Island  in  particular,  to  such 
an  extent  that  it  is  possible  a  profitable  cannery  could  be  started 

The  February-March,  1922,  limits  and  conditions  of  the  pack 
ice  for  2,500  miles  from  18°  E.  to  52°  W.  between  the  latitudes 
of  63^-70°  S.  were  determined.  These,  compared  with  Ross's, 
Biscoe's,  Bellingshausen's  and  Shackleton's,  are  very  interesting. 


ByCainfFjLjVoraley^Jl.  '\    SouthWe»tP^*' 

"QUEST"  R.Y.s.   1922 



J I 

BsighU  in.  A<e .  Jttptht  in,  ra^Ums 



showing  the  great  difference  between  one  year  and  another,  and 
even  one  month  and  another. 

In  the  Tristan  da  Cunha — Gough  Island  group,  additional 
information  for  the  sailing  directions  was  obtained.  Materials 
and  directions  were  given  to  Robert  Glass,  at  Tristan  da  Cunha. 
to  erect  beacons  at  Falmouth  Bay  for  convenience  of  the  in- 
habitants when  landing  in  their  boats  during  darkness,  and  to 
act  as  leading  marks  for  a  safe  anchorage  for  visiting  ships. 

We  practically  disproved  the  existence  of  a  reef  reported  by 
two  whaling  captains  as  having  been  seen  by  them  on  voyages 
from  Cape  Town  to  South  Georgia  in  35°  40'  5).  and  5°  20'  W. 

350  Appendix 

(350  miles  E.  by  N.  of  Tristan  da  Cunha).  We  steamed  over 
the  position  and  searched  for  two  and  a  half  days  in  the  vicinity, 
half  the  time  with  a  heavy  southerly  gale,  in  which  a  breaking 
reef  would  show  6  or  7  miles  away.  We  sounded  in  i  ,940  fathoms 
3  miles  south-east  from  the  position  given,  1,942  fathoms  15  miles 
east,  1,994  fathoms  15  miles  south-east,  and  1,989  fathoms  8  miles 
to  the  east,  besides  four  soundings  of  240  fathoms  no  bottom  and 
one  of  560  fathoms  no  bottom  at  varying  distances  from  15  miles 
south-west  to  5  miles  north-west.  Although  I  do  not  think  the 
reef  exists,  this  instance  gives  some  idea  of  the  time  and  trouble 
a  survey  ship  may  expend  in  searching  for  danger,  and  then  not 
finding  it,  through  having  been  given  a  wrong  or  doubtful 
position;  but  vessels  passing  this  position  would  be  well  advised 
to  keep  a  good  look-out  for  breakers. 


Thirty-two  soundings  were  taken  in  the  southern  ocean, 
practically  all  in  previously  sounded  areas,  and  so  of  great  value 
in  adding  to  our  bathymetrical  knowledge  of  the  ocean  between 
the  Atlantic  Ocean  and  the  Antarctic  Continent. 

They  were  made  with  a  Lucas  machine,  driven  by  a  small 
Brotherhood  engine,  all  kindly  lent  to  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  by 
the  Telegraph  Construction  and  Maintenance  Company,  who  also 
provided  the  Endurance's  Lucas,  with  which  we  sounded  the 
Weddell  Sea.  Our  first  line  of  soundings  was  run  from  a  position 
500  miles  east  of  the  Sandwich  group  to  our  farthest  south  point 
in  69O  18'  S.  17O  11'  E.,  where  we  unfortunately  were  barred  from 
further  progress  by  heavy  impenetrable  pack  to  the  south,  south- 
west and  south-east.  The  soundings  here  were  of  great  interest, 
having  shoaled  from  2,356  fathoms  to  1,089  fathoms  in  a  distance 
of  100  miles.  This,  with  other  indications,  made  it  practically 
certain  that  land  lay  a  short  distance  south,  possibly  not  more 
than  60  to  70  miles. 

An  irregular  line  of  soundings  for  over  2,000  miles  was  then 
carried  out  from  17O  E.  to  46^  W.,  mainly  within  and  along  the 
Antarctic  Circle.  The  bottom,  as  usual,  was  mostly  blue  mud, 
droppings  from  icebergs,  but  north  of  "Ross's  Appearance  of 
Land  "  we  dredged  up  a  large  haul  of  angular  rocky  fragments, 
to  the  joy  of  the  geologist. 

Very  heavy  weather  unfortunately  prevented  us  sounding  the 
blank  area  between  Elephant  Island  and  South  Georgia. 

Three  soundings  were  taken  between  South  Georgia  and 
Tristan  da  Cunha,  but  heavy  weather  again  prevented  our  doing 

Our  last  series  were  taken  from  50  miles  north  of  Gough 
Island  to  35O  40'  S.  and  5O  W.,  the  bottom  over  this  area  con- 
sisting mainly  of  white  clay  (globigerina  ooze). 



sano   _    ssyo    .    g?io  ss*         syso  ...  sf40 

54?30  54T20  54n0 



The  three  is  indi 
three  Anchorages 

O'Brien  1^ 

ate  the 
of  the 




Difficulty  was  experienced  at  all  times  in  sounding  owing  to 
the  extraordinary  liveliness  of  the  Quest,  and  many  more  sound- 
ings would  have  been  taken  but  for  the  slowness  of  the  vessel, 
lateness  of  the  season,  limited  time  and  bad  weather. 

A  number  of  heights  in  the  Tristan  da  Cunha,  Gough  Island 
group,  were  ascertained  by  Captain  G.  V.  Douglas  with  an  aneroid 
to  be  marked  in  excess  on  the  Admiralty  charts. 

The  new  heights  as  determined  by  him  and  compared  with  those 
in  Admiralty  charts  are  :  By  By  Admiralty 

Douglas  Chart  2228 

Tristan  da  Cunha     ... 

...     6,400 


Middle  Island    ... 



Inaccessible  Island     ... 

...     1,508 


Gough    Island 

,..     2,915 


It  will  be   noted    that   an   increase   is   to  be    applied    to  the 
Admiralty  height  of  Middle  Island  only. 

352  Appendix 


By  A.  H.  Macklin,  M.D. 

The  following  is  intended  to  'give  briefly  an  idea  of  the  special 
conditions  met  with  in  Antarctic  regions  and  the  steps  taken 
for  the  prevention  of  disease. 

The  chief  work  of  the  surgeon  of  a  polar  expedition  is  done  before 
the  ship  leaves  England,  and  if  it  has  been  properly  carried  out 
there  should  be  little  to  do  during  the  actual  journey.  In  this 
respect  casualties  are  excepted,  for  naturally  they  cannot  be 
foreseen.  They  are  prepared  for  by  providing  a  good  general 
surgical  outfit,  the  exact  composition  of  which  will  depend  upon 
the  amount  of  money  available  for  its  purchase  and  on  the  space 
at  disposal  for  its  storage.  Also,  as  the  practice  of  medicine  and 
surgery  is  more  of  an  art  than  an  exact  science,  it  will  depend 
largely  upon  the  individual  surgeon.  Many  things  can  be  omitted ; 
for  example,  splints,  which  can  be  improvised  as  required. 
There  are,  however,  definite  lines  upon  which  the  prevention 
of  sickness  may  be  carried  out,  and  the  following  are  important 
points  : — 

Ordinary  sickness  can  be  largely  ruled  out  by  careful  examina- 
tion of  personnel  and  insistence  on  absolute  physical  fitness.  In 
making  the  general  examination  the  following  points  should  be 
specially  looked  for :  bad  teeth,  pyorrhoea,  septic  tonsils,  and  any 
chronic  disease  about  the  mouth,  nasal  passages  or  the  accessory 
sinuses.  They  are  often  the  cause  of  latent  trouble  unsuspected 
by  the  applicant,  and  their  importance  will  be  seen  later  in  deal- 
hig"  with  scurvy.  The  ears  should  be  tested  for  hearing  and  for 
any  signs  of  middle  ear  disease.  One  should  examine  for  varicose 
conditions,  haemorrhoids  and  anal  fissure  or  fistula,  rupture,  flat 
feet,  and  other  deformities  of  the  feet  and  toes,  however  slight, 
old-standing  corns,  bunions,  etc.  A  history  of  dislocations  should 
be  inquired  for,  especially  of  the  cartilages  of  the  knee.  My 
opinion  is  that  any  of  these  conditions  should  absolutely  rule  out 
all  new  applicants,  for  the  presence  of  any  one  of  them  will  inevit- 
ably lead  to  trouble.  Their  occurrence  in  men  of  previous  polar 
experience  must  be  carefully  considered.  Venereal  disease  should 
be  an  absolute  bar.  The  wearing  of  spectacles  does  not  necessarily 
rule  out  an  applicant,  but  the  necessity  for  them  is  a  great 
handicap  in  cold  regions. 

There   are    three    main    conditions    which    must    be    specially 

Appendix  353 

considered  and  prepared  against ;  Scurvy  (and  allied  conditions), 
frost-bite  and  snow-blindness.  Sea-sickness  is  a  fourth  condition 
which  may  cause  disability,  but  as  in  the  prevention  and  treatment 
of  any  disease  the  main  principle  is  to  remove  the  cause,  this 
cannot  be  arranged  for  except  by  peace  offerings  to  ^^olus.  The 
individual  must  "go  through  it."  If  he  gets  over  it — good; 
if  he  shows  no  signs  of  ever  adapting  himself,  and  much  of  the 
work  of  the  expedition  is  to  be  done  at  sea,  he  must  be  sent  away 
at  the  first  opportunity,  for  chronic  sea-sickness  is  a  very  wearing 
condition  and  renders  the  subject  of  it  useless  for  work.  The 
Quest  was  a  particularly  lively  ship,  and  we  lost  in  this  way  two 
otherwise  very  useful  members  of  the  company. 

With  regard  to  sea-sickness  remedies  which  depend  mainly 
upon  drugs  having  a  depressing  influence  on  the  brain,  I  think 
they  are  useful  for  short  journeys  of  a  few  hours.  For  long 
journeys  with  continued  bad  weather  I  consider  them  not  only 
useless,  but  harmful. 

Scurvy  {and  allied  conditions). — The  history  of  scurvy  in  war 
and  famine,  in  the  early  days  of  long  voyages,  and  in  Arctic 
and  Antarctic  exploration  shows  the  important  part  which  this 
disease  has  played.  Fully  developed  scurvy  is  a  horrible  condition 
which  renders  the  individual  an  offence  to  himself  and  to  those 
about  him.  A  famous  Austrian  physician,  Kramer,  described  it 
as  "The  most  loathsome  disease  in  nature,"  so  that  the 
demoralizing  effect  of  an  outbreak  in  a  small  and  crowded  ship 
or  land  base  can  easily  be  imagined. 

Although  a  disease  which  has  been  recognized  for  centuries, 
it  is  only  in  recent  years  that  medical  science  has  been  brought 
to  bear  upon  it  and  the  causation  fully  investigated.  The  result 
is  that  much  new  knowledge  has  been  brought  to  light. 

For  practical  purposes  it  may  be  regarded  as  due  to  two 
main  causes  : 

(i)  The  lack  in  the  food  of  an  essential  factor  or  vitamin, 
which  leads  to  a  condition  of  the  body  with  diminished 
resistance  to  deleterious  influences. 

(2)  The  addition  to  the  system  during  this  devitalized  state 
of  a  poison. 

Prevention  aims,  therefore,  at  the  provision  of  food  containing 
the  active  vitamin  in  sufficient  quantity  and  in  taking  steps  to 
eliminate  as  far  as  possible  poisons  from  the  system. 

With  regard  to  supplying  the  vitamin,  naturally  much  of  the 
provisions  carried  must  be  in  the  form  of  preserved  foods.  Un- 
fortunately, most  canning  and  preserving  processes  have  a 
detrimental  effect  upon  the  vitamin,  and  it  is  under  conditions 
where  men  are  compelled  to  live  on  them  for  long  periods,  witli 
no  access  to  fresh  foods,  that  the  danger  of  scurvy  arises. 


354  Appendix 

For  many  years  lime-juice  was  regarded  as  a  sure  preventive 
and  a  certain  cure,  but  this  has  proved  fallacious. 

There  are,  however,  certain  canned  and  dried  foods  which 
contain  active  anti-scorbutic  vitamin,  though  not  in  such  great 
amount  as  fresh  vegetables.  One  should  endeavour  to  rely,  there- 
fore, not  on  any  one  product,  but  on  the  regular  provision  of  all 
foods  which  are  of  value  in  this  way. 

With  regard  to  the  dietary,  there  are  two  sets  of  conditions 
to  be  prepared  for  :  Life  on  the  ship  or  at  a  well-stocked  base, 
permitting  of  a  full  and  varied  diet  for  which  more  or  less  bulky 
foods  can  be  used ;  and  sledging  conditions,  including  abnormal 
circumstances  arising  from  accident,  which  require  a  close  ration. 

In  making  my  arrangements  I  placed  reliance  on  the 
following  foods  :  For  the  first  set  of  conditions,  lemon-juice  con- 
centrated by  the  method  advocated  by  Surgeon  Rear-Admiral 
Sir  P.  W.  Bassett-Smith ;  dried  milk  made  by  the  "roller" 
process,  condensed  milk  prepared  by  evaporation  in  vacuo ;  canned 
tomatoes ;  peas,  beans  and  lentils  for  being  made  to  germinate, 
and  on  prolonging  the  use  of  potatoes,  carrots  and  onions  as  far  as 
conditions  should  permit. 

Under  sledging  conditions  the  party  is  placed  on  a  definite 
limited  allowance.  A  sledging  ration  is  composed  somewhat  as 
follows  :  Pemmican,  nut  food,  biscuit,  tea,  sugar  and  dried  or 
condensed  milk,  amounting  to  a  total  weight  of  about  2}4  lbs. 
per  man  per  day,  and  having  a  food  value  of  about  5,000  calories. 
Of  these,  only  the  milk  can  be  said  to  contain  active  vitamin, 
and  not  in  sufficient  quantity  to  prevent  scurvy. 

Shackleton  added  to  his  Endurance  sledging  ration  capsules 
of  lime-juice  prepared  without  heat.  This  was  in  191 3  when 
the  vitamin  theory  was  scarcely  evolved,  and  is  an  example  of 
his  remarkable  ability  to  organize  in  detail. 

For  this  expedition  I  added  lemon-juice  prepared  as  for  use 
aboard  ship,  but  made  into  tablets  and  packed  in  air-tight  con- 
tainers, and  dried  milk  packed  in  small  air-tight  packages,  each 
package  containing  only  one  day's  ration,  thus  avoiding  undue 
exposure  to  air. 

Three  different  vitamins  are  described  by  investigators  : 

The  anti-rachitic  fat-soluble  A  vitamin. 

The  anti-neuritic  *  water-soluble  B  vitamin,  and 

The  anti-scorbutic  water-soluble  C  vitamin. 

I  have  spoken  only  of  the  last ;  the  first  hardly  needs  considera- 
tion here.  The  anti-neuritic  vitamin  is  more  easily  preserved  and 
•upplied  than  the  anti-scorbutic,  and  for  the  prevention  of  beri- 
oeri  the  following  foods  were  added  to  the  ship's  dietary  :  Rice 
(containing   the    germ),    wholemeal    flour,    oatmeal,    dried    eggs, 

*  Anti-beri-beri. 

Appendix  355 

dried  peas,  beans  and  lentils,  and  marmite,  a  yeast  product,  for 
adding  occasionally  to  soups  and  stews.  For  sledging  conditions  : 
Marmite,  ^  oz.  per  man  per  day  (to  be  placed  in  the  "  hoosh  "). 

In  preparing  the  supplies  we  carried  a  large  variety  of  foods, 
for  it  is  of  importance  to  prevent  monotony  in  meals.  This 
Shackleton  always  realized.  The  following  from  the  **  The  Worst 
Journey  in  the  World"  is  interesting:  **  Meanwhile  Shackleton 's 
hut  was  very  pleasant  at  this  time  of  year  .  .  .  and  the  food. 
Truly  Shackleton 's  men  must  have  fed  like  turkey  cocks  for  all 
the  delicacies  here.  ..."  The  addition  of  a  few  delicacies  adds 
little  to  the  cost  of  an  expedition,  but  means  a  great  deal  to  those 
engaged  in  it.  I  think  it  would  surprise  most  people  to  know 
what  can  be  done  in  the  way  of  supplying  wholesome  and  attrac- 
tive foods  in  a  preserved  state  by  modern  plants.  There  should 
be  one  standard  of  quality  only  :  the  best,  and  goods  should  be 
obtained  only  from  firms  of  the  highest  repute. 

The  elimination  of  poisons  from  the  system  is  aimed  at 
firstly,  by  thorough  preliminary  examination,  as  already  indicated, 
to  avoid  sources  of  poisons  in  the  body  itself,  e.g.,  the  mouth, 
teeth,  throat,  and  nasal  passages  with  their  accessory  sinuses, 
and,  secondly,  by  ensuring  that  no  bad  or  **  high  "  food  shall 
be  eaten. 

Constipation  in  any  of  the  personnel  is  a  factor  which  must 
be  avoided,  and  it  is  necessary  that  all  hands  be  impressed  with 
the  importance  of  a  regular  daily  movement  of  the  bowels  and 
a  complete  evacuation  at  each  act.  Defaecation  is  apt  to  be 
hurried  or  neglected  in  bad  weather  at  sea  and  in  cold  and  snowy 
weather  ashore.  Polar  travel  does  not  admit  of  comfortable 
latrines,  and  this  often  means  exposure  to  wind  and  drift,  for 
the  daily  functions  are  carried  out  in  the  ordinary  way.  This 
exposure  of  the  body,  though  exceedingly  uncomfortable,  leads 
to  no  lasting  harm,  for,  as  will  be  shown,  it  is  in  the  comparatively 
bloodless  extremities  that  frost-bite  usually  occurs.  Constipation 
is  follovv'ed  by  absorption  of  poison  from  the  bowel,  and  so  must 
be  especially  avoided  if  the  risk  of  scurvy  is  imminent.  Its 
correction  in  bad  weather  must  be  carefully  carried  out,  for  the 
cruelty  of  drastic  purgation  under  these  conditions  can  be 

In  future  those  responsible  must  make  themselves  au  fait  with 
the  steps  necessary  to  prevent  the  onset  of  deficiency  diseases. 
Scurvy  caused  the  failure  of  Lord  Anson's  expedition ;  in  Captain 
Cook's  brilliant  voyages  it  was  absent.  Compare  the  bad  coM- 
ditions  in  the  Alert  and  Discovery  in  1875  with  the  earlier  voyages 
of  Sir  Robert  McClure  in  the  Investigator.  Always  success  and 
failure  have  depended  upon  its  presence  or  absence.  In  more 
recent  times,  take  the  case  of  Captain  Scott  and  the  gallant 
companions  who  met  their  fate  so  bravely.     Mr.  Cherry  Garrard 

356  Appendix 

attributes  their  failure  to  return  from  the  Pole  to  several  condi- 
tions, one  of  them  a  deficiency  in  the  calorific  value  of  their  ration. 
"It  is  a  fact  that  the  polar  party  failed  to  make  their  distance 
because  they  became  weak,  although  they  were  eating  their  full 
ration  or  more  than  their  full  ration  of  food,  save  for  a  few  days 
when  they  were  short  on  the  way  down  the  Beardmore  Glacier.  ..." 
He  goes  on  to  say  :  "  The  Summit  (S)  ration  consisted  of  biscuits 
i6,  pemmican  12,  butter  2,  cocoa  0.57,  sugar  3,  and  tea  0.86  oz.  ; 
total,  34.43  oz.  daily  per  man." 

I  do  not  know  the  composition  of  the  pemmican,  but  this  ration 
should  yield  nearly  5,000  calories.  I  should  consider  it  to  be 
devoid  of  anti-scorbutic  and  anti-neuritic  vitamin,  and,  indeed, 
the  whole  medical  history  of  that  return  journey  shows  that  these 
men  were  fighting  an  unknown  enemy  greater  than  all  the  forces 
of  the  Antarctic.  In  a  footnote  Mr.  Cherry  Garrard  mentions  the 
possibility  of  vitamin  deficiency,  and  it  is  noteworthy  that  Dr. 
Atkinson  added  fresh  onions  (brought  by  the  ship)  to  the  next 
year's  ration.  I  think  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  there  was 
vitamin  deficiency,  and  it  all  goes  to  emphasize  my  point  of  the 
absolute  necessity  for  careful  medical  organization  to  prevent 
these  preventable  conditions,  for  it  is  my  firm  belief  that  the 
cause  of  Scott's  death  lay  not  in  the  Antarctic,  but  in  his 
preparations  in  England  prior  to  setting  out.  The  knowledge  of 
the  subject  necessary  to  enable  him  to  prepare  a  sledging  ration 
containing  active  vitamin  was  not  then  available. 

As  there  are  two  definite  causes  of  fully  developed  scurvy, 
viz.  the  lack  of  "vitamin"  and  the  addition  of  a  poison,  so  the 
symptoms  and  signs  divide  themselves  into  two  stages  : 

(i)  A  stage  of  general  lassitude  with  loss  of  vigour  and  a 
diminished  resistance  to  outside  influences. 

(2)  A  stage  of  toxaemia  which  once  started  progresses 
rapidly  and  produces  the  symptoms  and  signs  usually 
associated  with  scurvy. 

One  must  be  constantly  on  the  watch  for  the  first  stage,  for 
unless  carefully  looked  for  it  will  probably  not  be  recognized,  as 
the  man  affected  can  give  little  clue  to  what  is  wrong  with  him. 
I  saw  many  hundreds  of  such  cases  during  the  war  in  North 
Russia  when  scurvy  was  common,  none  of  them  showing  any 
local  signs  at  all.  When  the  better-known  signs  appear,  such  as 
spongy  gums,  blotches  in  the  skin  and  lumps  in  the  legs,  the 
disease  is  in  an  advanced  stage. 

My  own  arrangements  for  prevention  were  published  in  full 
prior  to  our  start  in  the  Lancet,  August  13th,  192 1.  I  believe 
this  is  the  only  Antarctic  expedition  that  on  setting  out  has 
not  taken  chances  with  scurvy,  though  the  absence  of  any  signs 
of  the  disease  from  any  of  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton's  own  parties 

Appendix  357 

is  remarkable.  The  reason  is  that  the  necessary  knowledge  had 
not  till  that  time  been  available. 

Space  forbids  a  full  description  here,  but  there  are  two 
important  points  to  which  I  must  refer :  Dried  cereals  by 
themselves  do  not  contain  active  anti-scorbutic  vitamin,  but 
if  made  to  germinate  the  green  shoots  which  sprout  from  them 
are  rich  in  it.  This  is  a  point  of  immense  practical  value, 
the  application  of  which  is  obvious.  With  regard  to  fresh  meat, 
it  has  been  shown  by  Stefansson  in  the  North,  and  by  members 
of  the  Endurance  expedition  in  the  South,  that  health  can  be 
maintained  on  a  purely  meat  diet,  and  that  fresh  meat,  if  taken 
in  sufficient  quantity,  is  effective  to  cure  scurvy.  Stefansson,  in 
the  Friendly  Arctic,  says  that  it  must  be  eaten  raw  or  very  much 
underdone,  but  our  experience  in  the  South  showed  that  this  is 
not  necessary.  In  fact,  a  certain  degree  of  cooking  is  advisable. 
He  states  also  that  putrefactive  meat  is  an  effective  cure  for 
scurvy.  This  I  think  is  dangerous  teaching;  in  any  stage  of 
scurvy  anything  putrefactive  should  be  avoided  if  possible  unless 
there  is  nothing  else. 

Those  general  readers  who  desire  to  learn  more  of  this  most 
interesting  disease  are  referred  to  the  bibliography  at  the  end  of 
the  report. 

On  this  expedition  there  was  no  scurvy,  and  no  risk  of  it, 
for  we  were  never  long  enough  away  from  sources  of  fresh  food. 
Yet  I  would  emphasize  the  necessity  of  strong  anti-**  deficiency 
disease"  measures  in  polar  work,  whatever  the  programme  may 
be,  for  in  the  pack  ice  accidents  may  at  any  time  occur  leading 
to  altogether  unforeseen  conditions  as  regards  food  supply. 

Frost-bite  is  a  condition  well  known  to  all  polar  explorers. 
If  neglected  it  may  lead  to  most  crippling  results,  and,  like 
scurvy,  requires  careful  preventive  measures. 

The  parts  of  the  body  most  commonly  affected  are  the  exposed 
parts  of  the  face,  especially  where  the  skin  is  drawn  tight  over 
underlying  bone,  e.g.  the  sides  of  the  nose,  the  cheekbones  and 
the  chin  ;  the  ears,  the  fingers  and  the  toes.  In  parts  other  than 
the  fingers  and  toes  the  condition  is  usually  not  serious,  for  frost- 
bite of  the  face  and  ears,  if  neglected,  may  cause  disfigurement, 
but  no  real  crippling.  It  is  a  good  practice  for  men  in  company 
to  scrutinize  each  others'  faces,  and  a  valuable  piece  of  equip- 
ment is  a  small  mirror  in  which  a  man  without  companions  can 
examine  his  own  face.  Frost-bite  of  the  fingers,  though  more 
serious,   is  usually  quickly  recognized  and  promptly  treated. 

Frost-bite  of  the  toes  and  feet  is  an  extremely  dangerous 
condition  and  may  have  far-reaching  results.  The  danger  lies 
in  the  fact  that  its  incidence  is  often  unknown  to  the  man 
attacked,  and,  though  he  may  suspect  its  onset,  he  may  neglect 
to  examine  his  feet,  for  polar  footgear  is  elaborate  and  cumber- 

358  Appendix 

some,  examination  of  toes  on  the  march  means  a  halt,  and  a 
certain  amount  of  time  is  consumed  in  unfastening  and  securing 
the  foot-coverings. 

Prevention  is  aimed  at  generally  by  maintaining  health  and  a 
vigorous  circulation.  Anything  which  depresses  the  health  and 
lowers  vitality  predisposes  to  frost-bite.  In  polar  work  the  most 
important  are  exhaustion,  hunger  and  vitamin  deficiency.  During 
a  sledge  journey  vitamin  deficiency,  the  consequent  lack  of 
resistance,  and  the  more  easily  induced  frost-bite  create  a  condition 
of  the  gravest  danger  to  the  man  or  the  party  so  affected. 

Locally,  prevention  lies  in  providing  suitable  clothing.  In 
whatever  form  it  takes  the  principle  aimed  at  is  the  same,  viz. 
to  provide  a  non-conducting  air  space  round  the  skin.  The  head 
and  ears  are  protected  by  woollen  and  windproof  helmets.  The 
face  cannot  be  covered,  for  masks  get  so  heavily  iced  up  as  to 
make  things  worse.  A  cowl  can  be  fitted  to  the  helmet  which, 
when  thrown  forward,  to  some  extent  shields  the  face  from  winds. 
The  hands  are  enclosed  in  mitts,  not  gloves,  in  which  the  fingers 
are  all  together.  The  finger  portion  should  be  large  enough  to 
allow  inclusion  of  the  thumb  when  the  hand  is  not  in  use. 
Sometimes  two  or  three  pairs  are  worn,  the  outer  pair  being  of 
windproof  material. 

To  provide  adequate  foot  protection  which  shall  not  at  the 
same  time  be  cumbersome  is  not  an  easy  matter,  for  things  which 
are  loose  about  the  feet  are  unwieldy.  Woollen  socks  which 
enmesh  the  air  in  their  stitches  provide  a  good  insulating  air  space. 
In  low  temperatures  two,  three  or  four  pairs  may  be  necessary. 
To  prevent  constriction  of  the  feet  it  is  of  importance  that  each 
outer  pair  of  socks  should  be  a  size  larger  than  the  one  inside, 
and  so  they  should  be  supplied  in  series.  The  cramming  of  a 
foot  with  too  many  pairs  of  socks  into  a  boot  too  small  for  them 
is  bad,  for  the  circulation  of  blood  to  the  toes  is  restricted  and 
the  air  space  is  lost.  Cold  feet  have  often  been  cured  by  telling 
the  wearer  to  remove  a  pair  of  socks. 

All  possible  steps  must  be  taken  to  see  that  the  air  space  is 
not  replaced  by  moisture,  i.e.  the  feet  and  coverings  must  be 
kept  dry.  This  is  a  difficult  problem ;  coverings  which  allow  of 
ventilation  allow  access  of  damp  from  the  outside,  and  waterproof 
coverings  retain  perspiration.  It  is  usually  impossible  to  ensure 
absolute  dryness,  and  therefore  socks  should  always  be  changed 
before  turning  in  to  sleep.  This  should  be  made  an  inviolable 
rule,  yet  it  is  one  which  is  often  broken.  Damp  socks  should 
not  be  placed  in  a  freezing  atmosphere,  for  the  moisture  in  them 
will  freeze  and  render  difficult  the  putting  of  them  on  in  the 
morning.  They  should  be  kept  in  the  sleeping-bag  or  placed 
under  the  jersey.  By  this  means  they  dry  rapidly.  Sennegrass 
may  be  used  for  taking  up  perspiration ;  it  has  the  property  of 

Appendix  359 

rapidly  giving  up  its  moisture.  Some  people  prefer  to  use  pieces 
of  flannel  instead  of  socks ;  the  pieces  are  wrapped  about  the  feet, 
and  have  the  advantage  that  when  taken  off  they  can  be  spread 
out  and  thus  dry  more  rapidly. 

All  tight  fittings  and  all  constrictions  which  serve  to  impede 
the  circulation  should  be  avoided.  Success  in  preventing  frost- 
bite is  attained  only  by  continued  and  careful  attention  to  detail. 

Precautions  which  are  carried  out  by  men  in  good  condition 
are  liable  to  be  ignored  by  those  who  are  exhausted  or  weak  from 
any  cause,  and  under  these  conditions  frost-bite  occurs  frequently. 
A  frost-bitten  part  becomes  waxy  white  in  appearance.  If  treated 
at  once  no  harm  results,  if  neglected  death  of  the  part  ensues. 
Treatment  on  the  spot  consists  not  in  rubbing  the  part  with  snow 
(men  have  been  killed  for  less),  but  in  applying  dry,  gentle  warmth. 
Very  light  massage  may  be  used,  but  violent  rubbing,  especially 
of  the  face,  is  liable  to  remove  the  cuticle  and  leave  a  weeping 
sore.  Fingers  can  be  thrust  inside  the  affected  man's  own  cloth- 
ing next  to  the  warm  skin.  A  frozen  toe  can  be  similarly  nursed 
back  by  a  "  Good  Samaritan  "  placing  the  toe  against  his  skin 
and  enfolding  the  ankle — a  most  unpleasant  job,  but  most  excellent 
treatment.  A  hand  taken  from  a  warm  mitt  can  be  placed  on 
the  face,  nose  or  ears.  Recovery  is  accompanied  by  an  intense 
feeling  of  "pins  and  needles."  A  part  that  does  not  immediately 
come  back  to  normal  must  be  kept  warm  and  dry,  and  the  appli- 
cation of  a  little  methylated  spirit  or  turpentine  is  good. 

It  is  essential  to  avoid  grease  and  wet.  I  have,  in  the 
Antarctic,  the  Italian  Alps,  and  in  Russia,  made  extensive  tests 
of  oils,  fats  and  grease,  and  have  come  to  the  conclusion  that 
the  application  of  vaseline  or  ointment  is  the  worst  treatment 
possible,  especially  if  the  part  is  liable  to  be  again  exposed  to 
cold.  Too  great  heat  is  bad.  The  circulation  must  be  coaxed 
back  gently.  Too  sudden  a  return  leads  to  exudation  and  choked 
capillaries,  just  as  theatre  passages  are  choked  at  the  cry  of 

Non-recovery  leads  ultimately  to  gangrene.  If  superficial,  the 
part  may  separate  of  itself,  leaving  a  good  new  skin  underneath 
which  is  at  first  very  tender ;  if  deeper,  judicious  amputation  may 
be  required.  The  gangrene  may  be  dry  or  moist.  In  the  former 
case  the  part  shrinks  and  becomes  black  and  scaly,  the  condition 
having  little  effect  upon  the  general  health.  It  is  dry  and  in- 
offensive. In  the  case  of  moist  gangrene  the  part  becomes  septic, 
is  very  offensive,  and  absorption  of  poisons  leads  to  impaired 
health.  The  amount  of  the  limb  that  requires  amputation  depends 
upon  the  severity  and  extent  of  the  frost-bite.  It  must  be  em- 
phasized that  in  examining  a  part  for  frost-bite  the  waxy 
appearance  may  not  be  present.  It  does  not  follow  that  the  part 
has  not  been  frost-bitten  or  is  not  seriously  affected.     There  is  a 

36o  Appendix 

more  slowly  produced  condition,  due  to  the  action  of  prolonged 
cold,  in  which  blood  returning-  into  the  capillaries  which  have 
been  damaged  by  the  continued  constriction  due  to  the  cold  sets 
up  inflammation  and  exudation,  which  may  lead  to  death  of  the 
part.  Signs  of  mottling,  at  first  pinky  white,  later  blue-grey, 
should  be  looked  for,  and  if  they  appear  the  parts  must  be  treated 
with  the  greatest  care.  If  circumstances  permit,  the  limb  should 
be  raised,  rested,  and  dry,  warm  (not  hot)  dressings  applied. 
For  unbroken  parts  I  use  cotton  wool  which  has  been  thoroughly 
dried,  bandaged  lightly;  for  cases  when  the  skin  is  broken,  lint 
which  has  been  warmed  and  the  surface  scorched  to  render  it 
sterile,  covered  with  warm,  dry  wool,  and  again  lightly  bandaged. 
This  simple  treatment  can  be  applied  under  any  conditions  in 
which  it  is  possible  to  produce  a  flame.  Cases  take  a  long 
time  to  recover  fully.  Ointments,  hot  wet  dressings,  and 
poultices  should  be  avoided.  A  milder  though  similarly  pro- 
duced effect  leads  to  an  irritable  condition  resembling  chilblains. 
It  affects  commonly  the  tips  of  the  ears.  The  momentary  exposure 
of  bare  skin  does  not  lead  to  immediate  frost-bite,  but  the  length 
of  time  that  it  can  be  exposed  depends  upon  the  temperature, 
the  amount  of  moisture  present,  and  the  strength  of  wind.  It  is 
often  necessary  in  carrying  out  a  piece  of  work  to  expose  the 
hands,  which  may  require  periodical  warming  up.  Much  depends 
upon  the  circulation,  for  if  a  job  is  attempted  after  the  body  has 
been  for  some  time  at  rest  frost-bite  sets  in  quickly.  If,  on  the 
other  hand,  the  individual  has  been  working  hard,  walking  or 
running,  and  the  blood  is  pulsating  actively,  the  hands  and  other 
parts  can  be  exposed  for  comparatively  long  periods  without  harm. 
As  a  result  of  unrecognized  and  untreated  frost-bite  strong 
men  have  been  crippled  for  life.  Constant  watchfulness  is 
required ;  its  danger  cannot  be  over-estimated,  nor  too  much 
emphasis  placed  upon  measures  for  its  prevention. 

Notes  on  Oils  and  Grease 

It  is  commonly  believed  that  fats,  oils  and  grease  are  good 
non-conductors  of  heat  and  if  placed  on  the  clothes  or  on  the 
skin  help  to  keep  one  warm.  There  was  never  a  greater  fallacy, 
for  it  is  common  experience  of  polar  explorers  that  the  reverse 
is  the  case.  Circumstances  do  not  permit  of  regular  laundrying 
or  even  of  regular  hot  baths,  and  situations  are  not  rare  at  this 
work  in  which  men  have  spent  several  months  without  a  wash 
or  a  change  of  clothes.  After  the  loss  of  the  Endurance  the  party 
had  neither  for  a  year.  The  clothes  inevitably  became  greasy, 
especially  about  the  elbows  and  thighs.  The  cold  could  be  felt 
"striking  through"  the  greasy  parts. 

It  was  often  necessary  to  kill  and  cut  up  seals.  In  the  process 
the  left  hand  grasped  the  blubber  and  became  very  greasy,  whilst 

Appendix  361 

the  right  hand,  which  wielded  the  knife,  very  largely  escaped. 
Usually  it  was  possible  only  to  wipe  with  snow,  which  had  little 
effect  to  remove  the  grease,  before  replacing  the  hands  in  mitts. 
Subsequently  the  left  hand  felt  colder  and  was  more  liable  to 
frost-bite.  Socks  which  have  been  worn  for  some  time  and  become 
slightly  greasy  are  less  warm  than  clean,  dry  socks.  There  are 
socks  of  a  type  manufactured  by  certain  firms  which  have  been 
deliberately  imbued  with  grease  to  make  them  warmer.  The 
wearing  of  them  produced  the  opposite  effect.  During  the  war 
I  made  experiments  upon  myself  and  with  troops,  in  which  two 
stretcher-bearers  massaged  the  feet  of  each  man,  the  left  foot 
with  whale  oil  and  the  right  by  rubbing  only.  Both  were  done 
at  the  same  time  and  for  the  same  length  of  time.  The  results 
were  greatly  in  favour  of  the  dry  rubbing.  I  collected  also  a 
number  of  socks  which  had  been  worn  (and  were  therefore  greasy) 
and  dried  them  thoroughly.  I  acquired  some  absolutely  new  socks, 
and  issued  one  dry,  greasy  sock  and  one  new  sock  to  each  man. 
Evidence  in  this  case  was  not  unanimous,  but  was  numerically 
in  favour  of  the  clean  sock. 

The  conclusion  is  that  oils  and  grease  are  of  small  value  for 
protection  against  cold  and  should  as  far  as  possible  be  avoided. 

It  may  be  thought  that  by  not  washing  or  having  a  change 
of  clothes  for  a  long  period  the  skin  gets  Into  a  bad  state. 
Fortunately,  in  the  Antarctic  there  are  no  human  parasites,  and 
one  does  not  perspire  so  freely  as  in  warmer  climates.  Never- 
theless, when  working  hard  in  very  low  temperatures  perspiration 
may  be  very  free,  and  consequently  well-ventilated  clothing  is 
necessary.  Modern  Antarctic  equipment  consists  of  warm  woollen 
underclothes  and  very  light  windproof  overalls  made  of  closely 
woven  material.  Furs  are  not  used,  though  they  are  favoured 
still  by  some  Arctic  explorers.  The  theory  is  often  put  forward 
that  the  best  procedure  to  adopt  in  the  Arctic  is  to  copy  as  nearly 
as  possible  the  clothing  of  the  Esquimaux,  for,  that  being  their 
home,  naturally  they  know  what  is  best.  This  view  is  strongly 
urged  by  Canadians  who  trade  along  the  Arctic  coast.  Certainly 
it  has  the  advantage  of  cheapness,  but  I  wonder  if  they  went 
to  Central  Africa  whether  they  would  adopt  the  loin  cloth — also 
cheap?  As  a  matter  of  fact,  experience  has  shown  that  the  skin 
improves  in  condition  and  takes  on  a  white,  silky  softness  that 
some  women  might  envy.  It  is  advisable  under  the  conditions 
to  seize  any  chance  of  still  air  and  bright  sunshine  to  remove  the 
clothes,  dust  from  them  the  flakes  of  skin  which  are  constantly 
being  shed,  and  give  the  body  an  air  bath. 

Snow-hlindness  is  a  condition  of  acute  and  sudden  congestion 
of  the  eyes,  affecting  chiefly  the  conjunctivae  (the  delicate  mem- 
branes which  cover  the  greater  part  of  the  front  of  the  eye). 
The  little  blood-vessels  become  dilated,  producing  a  prickly  sensa- 


362  -  Appendix 

tion  of  grit  in  the  eyes,  which  become  painful  in  strong  light. 
The  condition  may  become  worse,  leading  to  a  marked  congestion 
with  heavy  discharge  and  total  blindness.  Snow-blindness  is 
produced  less  frequently  by  sun-glare  on  the  snow  than  by  a 
diffuse  dull  light  which  casts  no  shadows  and  requires  continuous 
strain  to  pick  out  hummocks  and  unevenness  of  the  ice.  It  is 
said  that  people  with  less  pigment,  i.e.  "blue-eyed"  people, 
suffer  more  than  those  with  darker,  more  heavily  pigmented  eyes, 
but  this  is  not  always  the  case. 

The  condition  can  be  prevented  by  wearing  goggles  with 
tinted  lenses ;  e.g.  the  ordinary  dark  Crookes  lenses  are  quite 
effective.  The  frame  is  of  importance,  for  it  must  allow  of  free 
ventilation  without  side  glare.  The  Rowley  snow  goggle,  as  used 
by  Amundsen  and  Shackleton,  is  a  thoroughly  effective  design. 
The  contour  of  the  face  and  the  depth  of  the  eye  sockets  differ 
so  much  in  different  individuals  that  each  man  should  be  fitted 
for  goggles  prior  to  starting. 

If  treated  early  the  condition  gives  little  trouble.  Even  bad 
cases  are  easily  treated  on  board  ship,  or  at  a  base,  by  protecting 
the  eye  from  strong  light,  and  frequent  bathing  with  warm  water, 
boracic  lotion,  or,  better  still,  very  dilute  zinc  sulphate.  If  on 
the  march,  treatment  is  more  difficult,  for  lotions  will  probably 
not  be  available.  Small,  portable  and  very  effective  tabloid  outfits 
are  obtainable,  containing  eye  drugs  in  small  lamellae,  which, 
when  placed  in  the  eye,  are  dissolved  in  the  tears  and  so  form 
lotions.  It  must  be  remembered,  when  selecting  the  small  outfits, 
that  one  which  may  be  easily  manipulated  in  the  warm  show- 
rooms of  Messrs.  Burroughs  and  Wellcome  may  not  be  so  easily 
handled  with  fingers  benumbed  and  made  clumsy  with  cold. 

For  the  non-medical  man  the  best  treatment  is  first  to  place 
in  the  eye  a  cocaine  lamella  to  relieve  pain,  and  follow  it  in  a 
few  minutes  by  another  of  zinc  sulphate.  Pituitary  and  adrenal 
extracts  have  a  very  rapid  effect,  but  must  be  used  with  great 
care.  Untreated  snow-blindness  in  bad  cases  may  lead  to  per- 
manent results.  The  condition  is  preventable  and  easily  treated 
in  its  early  stage,  hence  once  more  the  great  importance  of  careful 

Bacterial  affections  are  rare.  "Colds  in  the  head"  hardly 
ever  occur,  and  if  they  do  are  probably  due  to  germs  brought 
by  the  party  themselves.  Wounds,  however,  readily  become  septic. 
Even  clean  cuts  take  a  long  time  to  heal,  and  unite  with  more 
scarring  than  usually  happens  in  more  temperate  regions.  This 
is  due  to  the  comparatively  bloodless  condition  of  the  skin.  Steps 
should  always  be  taken  to  keep  the  injured  part  as  warm  as 
possible.  When  possible  it  is  an  economy  to  rest  and  carefully 
look  after  open  wounds  however  slight,  for  the  reluctance  to  heal 
often  causes  long-continued  annovance. 

Appendix  363 

Every  polar  surgeon  must  be  prepared  to  do  his  own  nursing. 
There  is  no  one  else  to  do  it.  Conditions  for  a  sick  or  injured 
man,  even  under  the  best  circumstances,  are  far  from  being  ideal, 
yet  much  can  be  done  by  improvising  and  keeping  an  adaptable 
mind.  Comfort,  even  for  an  invalid,  is  a  relative  term.  The 
great  thing  is  to  keep  the  patient  cheery,  and  in  the  ship,  at  a 
base  hut,  in  a  tent,  or  even  under  an  upturned  boat,  one  can  be 
continually  doing  little  things  to  make  him  feel  that  he  is  being 
well  looked  after. 

The  surgeon's  advice  is  often  sought  with  regard  to 
local  food  supplies.  There  is  very  little  in  the  way  of 
animal  flesh  that  one  cannot  eat  if  put  to  it,  and  a  few  precautions 
in  cooking  can  make  almost  anything  palatable.  The  meat 
of  whales,  seals,  sea-elephants,  sea-leopards  and  penguins  is 
all  very  similar,  being  composed  of  a  dark  red  coloured  flesh 
of  coarse  texture.  They  have  a  somewhat  strong  oily  taste, 
which  one  learns  not  to  dislike  in  cold  regions.  The  organs,  such 
as  the  brains,  hearts,  livers  and  kidneys,  are  edible  and  are  said 
to  be  rich  in  anti-neuritic  vitamin.  One  has  to  beware  of 
parasites.  Fish  form  the  diet  of  most  of  these  animals,  and  are 
a  prolific  source  of  tape  worm,  round  worm  and  small  thread 
worms.  Often,  also,  the  liver  contains  small  trematodes.  Weddell 
seals  and  sea-leopards  especially  seem  to  be  infested  with  these 
parasites ;  on  being  cut  open  they  have  often  an  unpleasant  toxic 
smell,  the  Intestines  swarm  with  worms,  the  heart  may  have  small 
cysts  on  its  surface,  small  animalculae  may  be  detected  in  the 
bile  which  flows  from  the  cut  liver,  and  the  spleen  and  lymph 
glands  are  often  enlarged,  showing  that  the  animal  is  suffering 
from  a  general  poisoning.  Unless  the  party  is  starving,  such  an 
animal  should  naturally  be  rejected  in  toto,  although  the  meat 
may  appear  to  be  sound. 

The  crab-eater  seals,  which  live  largely  on  small  crustaceae, 
are  much  more  healthy  animals.  Penguins  also  require  careful 
examination.  Seabirds  have  a  rather  strong  taste  of  oil  and 
fishiness,  which  can  largely  be  removed  by  soaking  them  in  dilute 
vinegar  for  twenty-four  hours.  Young  albatross  and  paddy 
birds  require  no  special  treatment  and  are  delicious.  Fish 
swarm  in  Antarctic  and  sub- Antarctic  regions  wherever  there 
is  shoal  water  and  kelp,  as  also  round  the  South  Atlantic 
islands,  where  crayfish  also  can  be  obtained.  Every  effort 
should  be  made  to  vary  a  diet  of  preserved  provisions  by 
seizing  the  chance  whenever  possible  of  obtaining  any  of  the 

There  is  much  of  interest  in  the  medical  side  of  exploration 
that  space  forbids  me  to  touch  on,  but  there  is  one  point  which 
is  likely  to  concern  the  surgeon  of  a  polar  expedition,  whose 
department    is    an    all-embracing^   one :    the   health    and   physical 

364  Appendix 

fitness  of  sledge  dogs.^  Many  explorers  have  found  dogs  unsatis- 
factory as  a  means  of  transport.  This  is  especially  the  case 
with  British  explorers.  Scott  found  them  a  failure  on  his  first 
expedition  and  put  little  trust  in  them  on  his  last.  Shackleton, 
in  his  own  first  expedition,  as  a  result  of  his  experience  with  Scott, 
used  ponies  in  preference.  Careful  organization  has  been  put  into 
providing  and  preparing  for  various  forms  of  mechanical  trans- 
port before  the  expeditions  concerned  left  England,  yet  Shackleton 
in  getting  ready  for  the  Endurance  expedition  is,  so  far  as  I 
know,  the  only  British  explorer  who  seriously  organized  and 
thoroughly  prepared  for  an  efficient  service  of  dog  transport 
prior  to  his  start.  Sledges,  harness,  traces  and,  last,  not 
least,  food  and  sledging  rations  were  worked  out  in  detail.  Com- 
mander Wild,  who  associated  with  him  in  this  work,  is  a  strong 
advocate  of  their  utility.  During  the  expedition  the  dogs 
were  rigidly  disciplined  and  carefully  "vetted,"  and  the  results 
were  splendid.  We  were  unable  to  attempt  the  cross-country 
journey,  yet  the  work  of  the  dogs  day  by  day  was  marvellous. 
There  was  no  ice  too  rough  for  them,  they  crossed  broad  leads 
of  water  at  high  speed  over  nothing  but  rubble,  wherever  men 
could  take  a  sledge  they  could  take  it  faster,  and  sometimes  go 
where  men  could  not.  They  required  no  tents  or  sleeping-bags — 
only  a  minimum  of  one  pound  of  good  food  per  day. 

Dogs  are  living  organisms,  like  men,  and  require  treatment 
as  such.  Their  characters  must  be  studied  and  their  health  looked 
after.  To  begin  with,  like  men,  they  must  be  physically  fit,  they 
must  be  kept  fit,  their  coats  brushed  and  combed,  their  skin 
and  paws  kept  in  good  order,  they  must  be  freed  from  parasites, 
and  their  fighting  wounds  made  to  heal.  Like  men,  they  must 
be  well  disciplined  and  trained,  and  then  they  are  fit  to  send  out 
on  a  sledge  journey. 

The  sledging  ration  must  be  as  carefully  worked  out  as  that 
of  the  men  with  a  view  to  calorific  value  and  vitamin  sufficiency. 
Dogs  are  possessed  of  a  high  degree  of  intelligence,  are  hardy, 
and  can  look  after  themselves.  As  I  have  said,  they  can  take 
a  sledge  anywhere  that  men  can,  therefore  they  are  worth  looking 
after.  Yet  one  of  the  most  pitiable  things  in  the  history  of  polar 
exploration  is  the  way  in  which  dogs  have  been  neglected,  left  in 
miserable  condition  when  probably  all  that  was  required  was  a 
dose  of  castor  oil  and  a  good  vermifuge,  made  to  work  to  the  last 
ounce  on  a  totally  inadequate  ration,  and  finally  driven  to  death. 

Amongst  the  names  of  non-British  explorers  which  stand  out 
are  those  of  Sverdrup,  Amundsen  and  Peary.  They  looked  after 
the  health  of  their  dogs,  and  were  amply  repaid  for  the  care 

»  As  events  turned  out,  dogs  were  not  used  in  the  Qugst  expedition,  but  the  writer  has 
decided  to  include  this  point  m  his  observations. 

Appendix  365 

During  the  voyage  of  the  Quest  there  was  little  sickness.  A 
number  of  casualties  occurred,  most  of  them  trivial  and  easily 
dealt  with,  none  producing  serious  results. 

There  was  one  death  :  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton.  The  cause  was 
atheroma  of  the  coronary  arteries.  The  condition  was  a  long- 
standing one  and  in  my  opinion  was  due  to  overstrain  during  a 
period  of  debility.  In  his  history  there  are  many  occasions  when 
it  may  have  been  produced.  The  scurvy  which  he  developed 
during  the  southern  journey  of  the  Discovery  expedition  may  have 
produced  lasting  results.  It. has  been  stated  that  his  collapse 
caused  the  failure  of  that  journey.  I  must  make  it  plain  that 
the  development  of  scurvy  in  an  individual  during  a  sledge  journey 
is  not  in  any  way  the  fault  of  the  individual,  but  results  from 
faulty  organization.  Sir  Ernest  Shackleton  has  never  had  a  single 
case  of  scurvy,  or  any  condition  allied  to  it,  in  any  party  under 
his  charge.  His  condition  may  have  been  produced  during  his 
own  great  pioneer  journey  towards  the  South  Pole. 

What  is  remarkable  is  that  in  such  an  advanced  condition  he 
was  able  to  carry  on  as  he  did.  It  shows,  psychologically,  a 
wonderful  will  power  and  an  unyielding  determination  to  over- 
come difficulties.  In  this  respect  may  be  noted  one  of  the  last 
things  which  he  wrote  (in  a  final  letter  to  Mr.  Rowett)  : 
*'  Never  for  me  the  lowered  banner. 
Never  the  lost  endeavour." 

In  other  psychological  respects  he  was  remarkable,  as  is  seen 
in  the  combination  of  a  happy  and  apparently  carefree  tempera- 
ment with  an  ability  for  accurate  and  detailed  organization.  As 
a  leader  he  was  always  **  boss."  He  was  condemnatory  of  short- 
coming and  exacting  in  the  service  rendered  by  subordinates, 
yet  he  drew  from  all  who  worked  for  him  a  deep  liking  and  an 
unfailing  loyalty.  His  physical  qualities  are  well  known.  As  a 
living  organism  he  was  wonderful. 

Bassett-Smith.     "  Scurvy ;  with  Special  Reference  to  Prophyllaxis  in  the  Roya 

Navy."     Proc.  Roy.  Soc.  Med.     1920,  Vol.  xiii  (War  Section). 
Chick,  H.,  and  Delf,  E.  M.     "  The  Antiscorbutic  Value  of  Dry  and  Germinated 

Seeds."     Biochem.  Jour.,  1919,  xiii,  199. 
Chick,  H.,  and  Hume.     "  The  Distribution  amongst  Foodstuffs  ...  of  the  Sub- 
stances Required  for  the  Prevention  of  (a)  Beri-beri  and  (6)  Scurvy."     Trans. 
Soc.  Trop.  Med.  and  Hyg.     1917,  x,  141. 
CouTTS.     (Upon  an  inquiry  as  to  dried  milk,  etc.).     Report  to  the  Local  Govern- 
ment Board,  19 18.     New  Series,  No.  116,  31. 
Hess.     Scurvy  Past  and  Present.     Lippincott,  1920. 

"  Newer  Aspects  of  Some  Nutritional  Disorders."     Jour.  Amer.  Med.  Assocn., 

March  12,  1921.     Vol.  76. 
LiND.     Treatise  on  Scurvy.     London,  1772. 

McCarrison.     "  Studies  in  Deficiency  Disease."     Oxford  Med.  Publication,  1921. 
Macklin.     "A  Polar  Expedition."     Lancet,  March,  1921. 
Macklin  and  Hussey.     "  Scurvy  :  Its  Prevention  on  a  Polar  Expedition."    Lancet, 

Aug.  13,  1921. 
Medical   Research   Committee.     "  Report  on  the  Present  State  of  Knowledge 
Concerning  Accessory  Food  Factors  (Vitamines),  19 19." 


Sir  Ernest  Shackleton,  C.V.O.  Died  in  South  Georgia. 

Frank  Wild,  C.B.E. 

F.  A.  WoRSLEY.  D.S.O.,  O.B.E., 

R.D.,  R.N.R. 
D.  G.  Jeffrey,  D.S.O.,  R.N.R. 
A.  J.  Kerr 
C.  E.  Smith 


Hydrographer  and  Sailing  Mastef 

Chief  Engineer. 
Second  Engineer. 

A.  H.   Macklin,  O.B.E.,  M.C.,     Surgeon,  and  in  charge  of  stores 

M.D.  and  equipment. 

J.  A.  McIlroy,  M.R.C.S.,  L.R.C.P.  Surgeon  and  Meteorologist. 

L.  D.  A.  HussE 

Y,  B.Sc. 

Meteorologist       and       Assistant 

G.    H.    WiLKINS. 



G.  V.  Douglas, 

M.C..  M.Sc. 


C.  R.  Carr,  D.F.C. 


J.  W.  S.  Marr 


J.  W.  Dell 

Electrician  and  Boatswain. 

C.  J.  Green 


Harold  Watts 

Wireless  Operator. 

T.  F.  McLeod 


S.  S.  Young 


G.  H.  Ross 


H.  J.  Argles 


Christopher  Naisbitt 

Ship's  Clerk. 


AARBERG,  Dr.,  i8o,  1 86,  190 
Aarberg,  Mrs.,  69,   180,  190,  194 
Admiralty,  7,  10,  314,  344,  348 
Air  Ministry,  7,   13,  340,  343 
Albatross,  49,  52,  83,  186-189,  190,  294, 

296,  363,  see  also  Appendix  iii 
Island,  186 
Albuera.  66,  67,  190 
Amphipods,   loi 

Andersen,  Mr.,  manager,  Husvik,  76 
Anenkov  Island,   172 
Argles,  H.  J.,  48,  49,  83,  92,  118,  139, 

141,  145,  148,  186,  197,  272,  327 
Ascension  Island,  287,  301-309,  327 
Atmospheric  effects,  n6,  126,  156,  290 


Badkn-Powex,!,,  Sir  Robert,  170,  232 
Barlas,     Mr.,     Assistant     Magistrate, 

South  Georgia,  67 
Barrier,  Great  Ice,  78,  83 
Bay  of  Biscay,   19,  341 

Isles,   185 
Beaufort  Sea,  2 
Becker,  Sir  Frederick,  ix,  3 
Begbie,  Mr.  Harold,  viii 
Biunie,  Mr.,  Resident  Magistrate,  South 

Georgia,  176,  196 
Bird  life,  E^lephant  Island,  335 

Gough  Island,  272,  337-338 

St.  Paul's  Rocks,  329 

St.  Vincent,  328 

at  sea,  52,  83,  329.  334-335,  339 

South  Georgia,  330-333 

Tristan  da  Cunha,  213,  336 

Zavodovski  Island,  334 
Bird  wood  Bank,  7 
Biscoe,  John,  voyage  of,  130 

Blendon  Hall,  wreck  of,  211 
Blubber  as  fuel,  106,  108,  137,  145,  168 
Bostock,   Mr.,    manager,    Prince   Olaf 

Harbour,  185,  189 
Bouvet  Island,  6,  79,  91 
Bransfield  Strait,  72 
Bridgland,  Captain  F.,  17 
Buenos  Aires,  264 

Canadian  Government,  3,  4 
Cape  Colony,  205,  292,  345 
Cape  George,  349 

of  Good  Hope,  205,  29c 
I^indsay,  348 
Lookout,  157,  162 
Roca,  29 
Valentine,   155 

Wild,  156,  158,  162,  165-167 
Cape  hen,  52,  see  also  Appendix  iii 
pigeon,   52,    83,    159,    190,   see   also 
Appendix  iii 
Cape  Town,  6,  13,  46,  72,  73,  75,  137, 
148,  214,  216,  237,  243,  254,  256, 
262-264,  271,  284,  287-294,  343 
Cape  Verde  Islands,  3^ 
Carr,  C.  R.,  14,  27,  38,  49,  50,  52,  61, 
80,  82,  83,  91,  100,  105,  118,  140, 
142,  148,  149,  157,  159,  167,  185, 
186,  190,  197,  202,  206,  212,  231, 

Cascaes,  29 
Caves,  ice,  89 

Gough  Island,  280,  283 

Middle  Island,  324 

Zavodovski  Island,  87,  334,  347 
Challenger,  206,  321 
Christmas  celebrations,  50-52 




Clarence  Island,  154,  155,  156,  317 
Clark,  Mr.  R.  S.,  of  Endurance.  308, 

331  (notes).  332  (notes).  333 
Clerk  Rocks.  82,  347 
Clothing,  76,  358,  361 
Coats  I^and,  78,  314 
Continental  Shelf,  120 
Cook,  Mr.  James  A.,  x,  290,  295 
Cooper  Bay,  80,  82,  316,  347 

Island,  346,  347 
Comwallis  Island,  155 
Cotton,  Miss  Betty,  241 
Crayfish,  274,  278,  280,  349,  363 
Crozet  Island,  6 
Cumberland  Bay,  60,  346 

Dbception  Isi^and,  91,  137,  140,  168, 

DeU,  J.  W..  14.  27.  38.  49.  54.  77.  83. 

91-93,  104,  120,  132,  140,  147,  169, 

178,  196,  209,  265,  287-289,  327, 

Diatoms.   loi 

Diego  Alvarez  Island,  see  Gough  Island 
Diet,  353-357 

Discovery.   14,  68,  308,  365 
Dogs,  sledge,  364 
Dominican    gull,    112,    159,    see    also 

Appendix  iii 
Dougherty  Island,  7 
Douglas,  G.  v.,  15,  22,  27,  38,  49,  59, 

77,  80,  82,  83,  94,  100,  124,  134, 

139,  142,  146,  148,  149,  157,  163, 

179.  197.  206,  231,  287,  292,  304, 
309.  343.  348.  351 

diary,  208,  209,  210,  212,  214 
geological  observations,  314-318 

Dredging,   149,  296 

Drygalski  Fiord,  82 

East  India  Company,  205,  297,  300 
Elephant  Island,  81,  91,  137,  145,  153- 

168,  171,  178,  183,  273,  317-318, 

335.  342.  347-348.  350 

Enderby  Brothers,  5 

I,and,  73,  314 

Quadrant,  7,  292 
Endurance,  3,  61,  68,  90,  99,  117,  119. 
152,  155.  183,  194,  308.  350,  354, 
357.  360,  364 
Equipment,  general,   15,  72,  76 

scientific,   10-13,  34^.  343 
Eriksen,  15,  27,  36,  38,  48 
Euphausiae.   loi,   iii 
Expedition,  Bellingshausen's,  86 

Canadian  Arctic,  14,  344 

Deutschland,  46,   196 

German  Trtmsit  of  Venus,  197 

Imperial  Trans-Antarctic,   i 

Mawson,  87 

Shackleton,   191 4-16,  348 

Shackleton-Rowett,  6 
Expedition  Topics,  93,  97 

Fai,ki.and  Isi,ands,  79,  184 
Falmouth    Bay,    Tristan    da    Cunha. 

beacons,  349 
Foca  I,  see  Quest 
France,  37 
Frost-bite,  353.  357-36o 

Garrard,  Mr.  A.  Cherry,  355,  356 
The    Worst  Journey  in  the    World, 

Glaciers,    Elephant   Island,    158,    161, 

South  Georgia,  197,  198,  316 
Zavodovski  Island,  86 
Glass,  Corporal  William,  222,  238-239. 

248,  259 
Gough  Island,  6,  215,  265-286,  287,  291. 

319-320.   337-340,   343.    348.   350. 

Gould,  Lieut.  Comdr.,  7 
Graham  Land,  72,  74,^75 



Green,  C.  J.,  20,  24,  26,  36,  49,  51.  54. 

81,  83,  97,  190,  191,  194,  197,  202, 

294.  296,  302,  309 
Gritviken  Harbour,  59,  60,  67,  69,  76, 

192.  195 
Growlers,  132,  152 

Hansen,  Mr.,  manager,  Leith  Harbour, 

67,  76,  77,  109,  172,  176,  179,  180, 

182,  190,  333 
Harmsworth,  Mr.  A.  C,  5 
Heard  Island,  6 
Hodson,  Mr.,  of  Discovery,  308 
Hussey,  L.  D.  A.,  14,  23,  27,  33,  38,  40, 

43.  49-52.  61,  65,  67,  69,  76,  84, 

172,  178,  182,  185,  194 
account    of    the    burial    of    Sir    B. 

Shackleton,   173-177 
Husvik  Harbour,  76,  185 

Ice,  fresh  water  from  sea,  118 

pack,  79,  98-100,  102,  104,  107,  112, 
118,  129-133.   136,  143.   149,  150. 
152.  350 
pancake,   135,   136 
see  also  Growlers  and  the  Pack 
Icebergs,  58,  83,  85-91,  93,  96,  141,  142, 

149,  152,  156,  159,  350 
Ice-blink,  98,   136 
Illness,  prevention  of,  352 
Inaccessible  Island,  6,   203,  205,  206, 
211-213,  239,  324-325.  351 

J  ACOBSEN,  Captain,  of  Professor  Gruvel, 

67.  74 

Jacobsen,  Mr.,  manager,  Gritviken,  61, 
66,   75,  80,  261 

Jeffrey,  D.  G.,  14,  23,  27,  38,  43,  48, 
49.  52.  77.  82,  83,  85,  87,  103,  105, 
122,  142,  146,  149,  163,  166,  178, 
186,  187,  191,  196,  197,  202,  206, 
209,  231,  266,  309,  343 


Kelp,  82,  191,  209,  214,  274,  346,  348, 

Kelvin  sounding  machine,  12,  84,  318, 


Kerr,  A.  J.,  14,  17,  28,  29,  34,  42,  47, 
49,  52.  53.  55.  56.  74.  78.  83,  87, 
92,  109,  122,  128,  136,  149,  151, 
157,  159.  179.  194.  202,  292,  303, 

Killer  whales,  93,  102,  111-114,  125, 
131,  132,  143,  146,  335 

I^ARSEN   Harbour,  82,    331   {note  2), 

Least,  Captain,  of  Woodville,  69,  174 
Leith  Harbour,  66,  76,  77,  80,  172,  190 
Lisbon,  29,  30,  32,  78,  341 
Lucas  sounding  machine,   12,  91,  92, 

289.  344.  350 
Lysaght,  Mr.  Gerald,  17,  19,  21,  23,  25 


McIivROY,  J.  A.,  14,  19,  27,  49,  52,  61, 
65,  67,  80,  83,  91,  92,  95,  loo,  104, 
118,  126,  129,  140,  141,  149,  157, 
159.  168,  170,  185,  194,  197,  201, 
202,  232,  292 

Macklin,  A.  H.,  x,  3,  6,  14,  23,  27,  38, 
40,  45,  48,  49,  52,  61,  62,  67,  75,  80, 
81,  83,  89,  91-95.  98,  103-105,  112, 
118,  126,  132,  139,  140,  142,  147- 
152,  157,  159,  163,  166,  167,  185, 
188,  191,  194,  196,  197,  202,  204, 
214,  216,  270,  284,  292,  298,  302, 
303.  309 
diary,  57,  64,  122,  135,  141,  145,  153 
164,  i86-i88,  191,  199,  275,  294- 
296,  302,  304-308 
medical,  352-365 
Tristan  da  Cunha,  219-264 

Macleod,  T.  F.,  14,  19,  27,  49,  52,  77 
83,  92,  loo,  123,  140,  152,  163,  169, 
178,  187,  194,  201,  290 



Macquarie  Island,  87,  273 

Madeira,  17,  19,  31,  34,  310 

Manson,  Captain,  of  Albuera,  67,  190 

Marion  Island,  6 

Marr,  J.  W.  S.,  15,  21,  23,  30,  32, 
36.  38,  49,  52,  77.  80,  81.  83.  84, 
91.  118,  132,  140,  146,  150,  163, 
169,  178,  186,  197,  202,  206,  212, 
232,  304.  327 
diary,  33,  94,   144,  207 

Mason,  J.  C.  Bee,   14,    23,    27-29,    31, 

Middle  Island,  205,  208,  210,  324,  351 

Mill,  Dr.  H.  R.,  viii,  3 

Mollymauk,  213,  245,  see  also  Appendix 

Moltke  Harbour,   197 

Monte  Video,  67,  69,   173-177 

Mooney,  N.  E.,  15,  21,  22,  28-32 

Mount  Paget,  315 


Naisbitt,  C,  48,  49,  52,  77,  83,  93,  97, 

98,  118,  148,  270,  278 
Natural  History  Museum,  British,  163, 

New  York,   164 
Neko,  floating  factory,  177,  178,  182, 

185,  186 
New  Zealand,  7,  285 
Newnes,  Sir  George,  5 
Nightingale  Island,    6,    205-210,    211, 

212,  322-324 

Orwell,  oil  transport,  76,  288 

Pediunker,  213,  253 
Penguin  Island,  286,  348 

rookeries,  81,  87,  213,  274,  284 
Penguins,  80,  86,  93,  102,  156,  162,  166, 
295.  363 

Adelie,   115,   143,   145,   148 

Emperor,  108-109,   iii,   124 

Gen  too,  81,  158,  160,  167 

King,  87,   108,  334 

Ringed.  81,  85,   141,   158,  334 

Rockhopper,  213,  274,  284 

see  also  Appendix  iii 
Personnel,   14-15,  48,   366 
Perth,  oil  transport,  184 
Petrels.  99 

Antarctic.  93,  iii,  112.  131.  141,  143 

Giant,  83,  129,  131.  186,  187 

Mother  Carey's  Chickens,  52,  83,  131 

Snow,  III,  112,  124,  143,  145 

Wilson's,  III 

see  also  Appendix  iii 
Plant  life,  Ascension  Island,  305 

Gough  Island,  268,  272,  285,  338-339 

Nightingale  Island.  207 

St.  Helena.  299.  300 

South  Georgia.  334 

Tristan  da  Cunha,    213.    240,    244, 
252.  320 
Plymouth,   17,  293,  308 

Sound,   18,  312 
Ponta  del  Gada.  310 
Portugal.  29 

Positions,  20,  21.  22.  50.  79,  98,  104, 

108,  no,  116,  117,  120,  128,  131, 

136,  141.  143.  144,  147,  288,  342, 

see  also  Appendix  v 

Possession  Bay.  346 

Prince  Olaf  Harbour,  185,    188,    189, 

Prion,  see  Whale  bird 
Professor  Gruvel,  67,  74.  173 

Pack,  the,  73.  loi,  no.  113.  117,  122, 

Paddy   birds,    159,    163,   363,   see  also 

Appendix  iii 
Pagoda  Rock,  79,  96,  348 
Palmer  Archipelagc    74.   183 

Queen  Mary's  Land.  114 

Query,  dog,   17,  20,  26,  62,   100,   107, 

122,  143,  145,  148,  153,  196.  201, 

265,  278,  284,  289 



Quest,  adaptation  and  equipment, 
8-13  ;  voyage  to  Rio,  16-37,  42-43  ', 
overhauled,  44-47  ;  first  visit  to 
South  Georgia,  48-63,  72-74,  76-79  ; 
pushing  South,  80-98  ;  in  the  ice, 
98-144 ;  beset,  145-152 ;  visits 
Elephant  Island,  153-172  ;  second 
visit  to  South  Georgia,  177-190  ; 
visits  Tristan  da  Cunha  group, 
199-203,  206-209,  213,  224,  231, 
233.  235.  243,  252  ;  Gough  Island, 
265-270,  279-284 ;  Cape  Town, 
287-293  ;  homeward  voyage,  294- 
296,  301,  308-313  ;  alluded  to, 
vii,  314,  316,  318,  340  ^41,  351, 
353.  365 

Raratonga,  7 

Reef,  sounding  for  reported,  288,  349 

Rio  de  Janeiro,  43-48,  53,  63,  77,  78, 

85,  140,  182,  341,  345 
"  Roaring  Forties,"  the,  179,  199,  203 
Rogers,   Rev.  Martin,   214,   217,   227, 

232,  235,  236,  243,  248,  263 
Rogers,  Mrs.  Martin,  235-237,  243,  248 
Ross,  G.  H.,  83,  142,  197 
Ross's  Appearance  of  I^and,  91,   137, 

144,  145,  350 
Rowett,  Mr.  J.  Q.,  viii,  3,  5,  9,  15-17, 

51.  52.  57.  66,  72,  73,  77,  173,  174, 

176,  177,  204,  215,  217,  287,  290, 

312,  328,  340,  365 
Rowett,  Mrs.  J.  Q.,  ix,  51,  52,  176 
Royal  Bay,   197,  316,  347 
Royal  Geographical  Society,  2 

St.  Hei,Ena,  287,  296-301,  327 

St,  Paul  Rocks,  6,  38-42,  325-327,  328, 

St.  Vincent,  35  ,42,  62,  78,  287,  308,  309, 

327,  328,  341 
San  Miguel  Azores,  310,  327 
Sapp,  Captain,  of  Southern  Isles,  185 
Scilly  Isles,  19,  30 

Scotia,  267,  348 
Scott,  Captain,  14,  355,  364 
Scurvy,  104-106,  353-357.  3^5 
Sea-elephants,  81,  137,  156,  157,  159, 
162-164,  186,  272,  333,  337,  363 
Sea  hen,  see  Skua 
Sea-leopards,  93,   H2,   125,   149,  333. 

335.  363 
Sea  life,  St.  Paul  Rocks,  38-42 

Tristan  da  Cunha,  336 

tropical,  36 
Seal  meat,  103-105,  108,  125,  363 
Seal  Rocks,  166 

Seals,  81,  107,  111-115,  143,  295,  337, 

Arctic  and  Antarctic,  125 

Crab-eater,  loi,  114,  124,  131,  132, 

139,  145.  335.  363 
Weddell,   118,  333,  363 
Sea-sickness,  31,  353 
Shackleton,  I^ady,  8,  66,  67,  69,  173, 

174,  176,  194 
Shackleton,  Sir  B.   H.,  vii-ix ;    plans 
and  finance,  i-io,  14-15  ;    on  the 
Quest,  16-38,  41-43,  48-59;  at  Rio, 
44-48  ;  arrival  at  South  Georgia, 
60-63  ;  death,  64-67,  365  ;  arrange- 
ments    for    burial,    67-70,    173 
memorial    service,   174 ;     fimeral, 
1 76 ;   memorial  cairn  and  grave, 
192-195  ;    alluded   to,   71-79,   88, 
105,  155,  156,  171,  183,  188,  312, 
314.  342,  344.  350,  354-356,  362, 
diary,  18-23,  58-59 
South,  I,  155,  333 
Sharks,  38-41,  209,  295,  337 
Sinclair,  Captain,  of  Neko,  182,  183 
Skua,  80,  81,  129,  159,  213,  268,  272, 

see  also  Appendix  iii 
Smith,  C.  E.,  15,  49,  83,  84,  92,  292 
Snow-blindness,  353,  361-362 
Sorlle,  Mr.,  manager,  Stromness  Har- 
bour, 183,  184 
Soundings,  84,  92,  96,  104,  no,  116, 
117,  120,  128,  131,  141,  143,  144, 
147,  171,  189,  197,  199,  214,  274, 
279,  283,  286,  288,  318,  327,  see 
also  Appendix  v 



Southampton,  8,  17,  177 

South  Georgia,  first  visit,  60-63,  80-82  ; 
second    visit,    168-172,    178-198 ; 
geology,  315-317  ;  natural  history, 
329-334  ;  hydrographic  work,  345- 
347 ;  alluded  to,  8,  57,  67,  69,  72, 
73.  77.  79.  91.  94.  I37.  138.  173- 
176.  197.  201,  328,  342,  350 
Sandwich  Group,  347,  350 
Shetlands,  183,  317 
Trinidad  Island,  6,  43,  287 

Southern  Isles,  oil  transport,  185 

Southern  Sky,   184 

Sperry  gyroscopic  compass,  11,  344 

Stefansson,  2,  14,  105,  357 

Stoltenhofif  Island,  205,  210,  212,  324 

Stromness  Harbour,  183-185 

Surveys,  38,  87,  279,  285,  286,  see  also 
Appendix  v 

Tagus,  river,  29,  31 

Temperatures.  52,  129,  143,  144,  145, 
146,  150.  342 

Terns,  131,  268,  see  also  Appendix  iii 

Traill-Smith,  Comdr.,  18,  293 

Tristan  da  Cunha,  6,  179,  190,  198,  199, 
203-206,  213-264,  266,  274,  291, 
320-322,  336.  342,  349-351 


Uruguay,  Repubwc  op,  174,  194 
Uruguayan  Government,  173-175 
Minister  for  Foreign  Affairs,  175,  177 


Waixis  Island,  60 

Water  sky,  98,  107,  in,  150 

Watts,  IT.,  15,  27,  49,  66,  83,  92,  120, 

140,  149,  160,  296 
Weddell  Sea,  72,  91,  100,  119,  142,  350 
Whale    birds,    52,    83,    213,    see    also 
Appendix  iii 
food,  101-102 
him  ting,  182-183 
Whales,  loi,  102,  132,  171,  333,  363 
"  Wideawake  Valley,"  302-303 
Wild,  Frank,  55,   122,   142,   153,  200, 
221.  223,  231-233,  236,  238,  295. 
296,  342.  364 
Wilkins,  G.  H.,  14,  23,  27,  35,  37,  38 
50.  59.  77.  87,  92,  103,  108,  115, 
134,  140,  149,  157,  163,  169,  179, 
186,  187,  197,  206,  207,  212,  231, 
285,  292,  304,  309,  327,  330.  333, 
337.  340 
Wind  at  Gough  Island,  281,  283 
South  Georgia,  184 
Tristan   da   Cunha,    213,    228,  251, 
see  also  Appendix  iv 
Wireless,  10. 19,  22, 66, 140,  344-345,348 
Woodville,  69,   174,   175,   178,   189 
Worsley,  F.  A.,  14,  23,  27,  42,  49,  52, 
54,  57,  60,  65,  76,  77,  82-85,  90-92, 
94-96,  98,  103,  no,  117,  120,  122, 
123,  128,  131,  133,  136,  141,  143. 
144,  147-149,  161,  166,  171,  172, 
183,  184,  187,  189,  194,  197,  202, 
204,  214,  265,  266,  288,  294,  343 
Wounds,  treatment  of,  362 

Young,  S.  S.,  48,  49,  52,  83,  92,  163 

Vttamines,  354-358,  363,  364 
Volcanic  appearances,  82,  86,  347 

Zavodovski  Island,  85-87,  318,  334, 

Printed  by  Cassbll  ft  Compamt,  Limited,  La  Belle  Sauvace,  London,  E.C.4. 

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